Policy

New York Democrat, Republican Call for Hearings on Holocaust Education Bill

Letter to Education Committee leaders comes less than week after most deadly killing of Jews in U.S. history

Mourners leave roses next to one of the many plaques detailing transports of Berlin Jews to concentration camps in Berlin, Germany. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images file photo)

A bipartisan duo of New York lawmakers asked Wednesday for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to hold hearings on their bill that would provide resources to public and private schools to more adequately teach students about the Holocaust in World War II in Nazi Germany.

The request from Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney and GOP Rep. Dan Donovan comes less than a week after a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 Jews celebrating Shabbat.

Maloney and Donovan wrote a letter to Chairwoman Virginia Foxx and ranking member Bobby Scott Wednesday asking them to help move the bill, which was introduced in April, forward in the House.

“Holocaust education is a vital part of our children’s learning experience. Unfortunately, far too many students in our country grow up without basic knowledge of the events during the Holocaust,” Maloney and Donovan wrote.

By moving the bill forward, “Congress can reiterate the importance of teaching our children the history of hate and the horrors to which it leads,” they wrote. “Now more than ever, we need that reminder.”

The attack against members of the Pittsburgh synagogue is believed to be the deadliest against Jews on U.S. soil.

The lawmakers noted in their letter that anti-Semitic incidents were up 57 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

“As we condemn this horrendous attack and the anti-Semitism that caused it, we also must ensure that our children and students understand the dangers of rising anti-Semitism and that they know its history,” Maloney and Donovan wrote.

The New York lawmakers’ bill, titled the “Never Again Education Act,” would create a fund at the Department of Education to provide grants to middle schools and high schools that would help teachers devise more extensive holocaust education programs.

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