New Oregon law makes Holocaust education mandatory

Law inspired by teen's friendship with 92-year-old Holocaust survivor mandates Holocaust education for all public school students.

David Rosenberg,

Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

The State of Oregon will now require all public school students to study the Holocaust and other acts of genocide, following the signing into law of a bill first introduced by a teenager who learned about the Holocaust from a 92-year-old survivor.

On Monday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law, AP reported, after it passed the state legislature unanimously.

Starting with the 2020-2021 school year, Oregon public schools will be required to include Holocaust education and studies of other genocides in their curricula.

According to the language of the newly-signed law, Oregon public schools must “prepare students to confront the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events.”

“Today more than ever, we need the learning opportunities that a bill like this will bring to our schools,” said Brown at the signing ceremony Monday.

Oregon is now the 12th state in the nation which mandates Holocaust education.

The bill itself was first introduced following the lobbying of 14-year-old Claire Sarnowski, a Catholic student from Lakeright High School in Lake Oswego, near Portland.

Sarnowski pushed for the bill after she met with a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, Alter Wiener. The two first met in 2014, when Wiener spoke at Sarnowski’s elementary school. The two remained in contact until Wiener’s death in a traffic accident last December.

“Even people who know me were skeptical at first, saying, ‘You’re not Jewish, and you’re a young girl,’” Sarnowski told the Los Angeles Times. “But I could do this because it’s for the future generations of Oregon students, for people to hear these lessons of tolerance and respect.”




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