August 20, 2019

Oregon Gov. Signs Law Mandating Holocaust Education

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem; Photo from Deposit Photos

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill into law on July 15 mandating Holocaust education in all schools statewide.

Starting in the 2020-21 academic, all Oregon schools will be required to teach students about “the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events,” according to The Oregonian.

“Now more than ever we must empower our children with knowledge so together we can stomp out the growing hate in our country,” Brown tweeted. “Proud to sign the Holocaust education bill today, mandating Oregon schools to teach our kids about genocide so this history is never forgotten or ignored.”

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

Democratic State Sen. Rob Wagner, who sponsored the bill, said at the signing ceremony that the bill was important given the rising anti-Semitism in the country, recalling how “in my own neighborhood, there were anti-Jewish posters that were put up on light poles outside of our local synagogue.”

Claire Sarnowski, a Catholic high school student at Lakeright High School, had been lobbying for the bill ever since she befriended Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener in 2014. Wiener died in a December car accident.

Oregon is now one of 12 states to require Holocaust education in schools statewide.