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Believe it or not: Even senior citizens need Holocaust Education!

zgrams at zgrams.zundelsite.org
Fri Sep 21 09:04:27 EDT 2007


Congress mandates Holocaust education in grades K-12; science and 
math requirements to be dropped.

New legislation would also replace arts and crafts in senior 
citizens' homes with workshops on Holocaust denial.

07.27.2007 | The Jewish Advocate

By Kristin Erekson

With more than 62 years having passed since the Shoah, local and 
state lawmakers are working to give Holocaust education a boost.

Currently being reviewed by committees in the U.S. House of 
Representatives and Senate, the Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education 
Assistance Act - if passed - would provide select organizations 
nationwide with competitive grants to be used to develop Holocaust 
curriculum guides as well as training for teachers.

The act would distribute $10 million - $2 million yearly for five 
years - in federal funding to establish these programs, according to 
Newtonville resident Rosian Zerner, a Holocaust survivor from 
Lithuania who is supporting the bill. The U.S. Secretary of Education 
determines the recipients of the funds and the amounts of the awards.

"Massachusetts should be at the forefront of this legislation," said 
Zerner, who has been fervently sending out letters and meeting with 
legislators to garner more support for the act. "Holocaust education 
is important because it not only stands as a symbol of what should 
not be repeated in history but it is also necessary at a point where 
there are so many Holocaust deniers."

Upon receiving a letter from Zerner, Congressman Barney Frank 
(D-Mass.) decided earlier this month to become a co-sponsor of the 
bill. Frank said he is "doing this for the world."

"The more you learn about things, the better it is to make sure you 
avoid anything like it," Frank added.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who is the author of the bill in the 
Senate, told the Advocate in an e-mail that the Holocaust Education 
Assistant Act is needed now more than ever because there are some who 
still deny "the Holocaust's very existence."

Menendez, along with other lawmakers, found it fitting to name the 
bill after the late Simon Wiesenthal, a survivor of the Nazi death 
camps who dedicated his life to documenting the crimes of the 
Holocaust and to hunting down the perpetrators still at large. The 
act has no connection with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Menendez said.

"I believe this legislation will be an important step to ensuring 
that students continue to learn about the Holocaust in an accurate 
and comprehensive manner," Menendez added.

According to the text of the act, several states, such as California, 
Florida and Illinois, now mandate Holocaust education in curricula. 
However, Heidi P. Guarino, spokeswoman for the state Department of 
Education, said Massachusetts does not exactly "mandate" the teaching 
of the Shoah.

Instead, Guarino added, the Massachusetts History and Social Science 
Curriculum Framework dedicates one world history learning standard to 
the Holocaust, as well as another addressing the creation of the 
state of Israel in 1948.

If the bill is passed, Guarino said that it will "spur a very intense 
effort on the development of teaching units and other materials on 
this subject."

Alan Ronkin, deputy director of the Jewish Community Relations 
Council of Greater Boston, told the Advocate that teaching about the 
Holocaust is "critical to shape the next generation."

Added Ronkin: "Holocaust education not only teaches about the past, 
but it also uses the lessons of the past to help shape students' 
decisions to become future leaders [who fight] against racism, 
bigotry and anti-Semitism."

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