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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 13, 2012 02:22 PM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Holocaust Education
 
In the very near future, I will be reintroducing SB 1523 to amend the Public School Code to create a new section, 24 P.S. §15-1554, in order to require schools to provide instruction on the Holocaust, other acts of genocide, and the effects of ethnic, racial and religious intolerance. In this context, our children deserve more than a history lesson.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi Regime. When the Nazi Regime took power of Germany in 1933, the European Jewish population was over nine million. By the end of the Regime in 1945, not only were two out of every three European Jews murdered as a result of the “Final Solution,” but about 200,000 Roma (Gypsies) and almost 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients were killed. The “Final Solution” was a Nazi strategy devised to eliminate all Jews and other races that the Regime found to be “inferior.” It was genocide. Following World War II, the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention to prevent such atrocities from ever taking place again; however, since both the Holocaust and the adoption of the Genocide Convention, genocides have continued to occur in several countries such as Cambodia (1975-79), Rwanda (1994) and Bosnia (1992-95).

Presently, twelve states have regulations encouraging or recommending the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide, but only five states have enacted statutes to require the instruction of the Holocaust and genocide in the classroom. These states include California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. My legislation would provide for instruction, from grades six through twelve, on the history of the Nazi atrocities committed from 1933 through 1945, other genocides, and an understanding that genocide is a consequence of prejudice and discrimination. In addition, my legislation would require instruction to include an understanding of human rights violations, racism and the abridgement of civil rights.

If you have any questions, please contact my office at 787-5970. Thank you for your consideration.


Introduced as SB47