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House passes New York City congresswoman’s bill to fund Holocaust education

Rep. Elise Stefanik, Holocaust survivor Esther Peterseil, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, and Rep. Don Bacon before the House vote. (Photo by Official House of Representatives Photographer Phi Nguyen)

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Never Again Education Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney of New York City, which funds Holocaust education programs throughout the country.

The bill, which now heads to the Senate, was passed by a 393 to 5 margin on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with this year being the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The House bill provides $10 million in funds over five years toward initiatives for Holocaust education, including expanding the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming for teachers nationwide. The bill requires the museum to develop and make available resources on increasing awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.

The bill also supports expanding a website, to be maintained by the Holocaust Museum, where teachers will be able to access curriculum materials. Funding will also be used to expand the Museum’s professional development programs, including workshops, teacher trainings with Holocaust education centers, and working with local schools and education agencies.

After the House vote, Congresswoman Maloney urged the Senate to act quickly on the bill.

“As we recommit ourselves to the promise of ‘Never Again’ on this 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau,” said Maloney, “I am reminded that the lessons of the Holocaust do not just apply to anti-Semitism – but to all forms of hate and bigotry and I can think of no better way to honor the memories of those murdered than to make sure our students know their names and their stories.”

Mark Wilf, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees, credited the House’s bipartisan support of the bill. “We have seen an unprecedented wave of violent anti-Semitic attacks across the country and the sense of threat is universal,” said Wilf. “Holocaust education and specifically the Never Again Education Act is one legislative vehicle that can help alleviate this problem.”

“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum wants people, especially young people, to understand that the Holocaust was not inevitable,” said Diane Saltzman, the Museum’s Director of Constituency Engagement, who thanked Congress for committing to Holocaust education and remembrance. “Understanding what made the Holocaust possible — including our capacity for evil and indifference and the dangers of unchecked anti-Semitism and hatred — is critical to being a responsible, engaged citizen in a globalized world.”

Gabe Herman