Trump Wants Americans to Learn About the Holocaust as Anti-Semitism in U.S. at All-Time High

Students across the country are set to receive more education about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, as the U.S. experiences record levels of anti-Semitism.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the Never Again Education Act after the bill was passed in the House in January and the Senate earlier this month.

The bill would dedicate funding for Holocaust education programs and create regional workshops to assist middle- and high-school teachers with incorporating Holocaust education into their curricula.

The Never Again Education Act was co-sponsored by Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, which is one of only 12 states that require schools to teach students about the Holocaust.

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"Anti-Semitism has no place in our country, especially in our schools," Buchanan said. "We need to do all we can to combat this evil ideology."

The news follows a report by the Anti-Defamation League that said the U.S. had a record number of anti-Semitic incidents last year. The ADL's 2019 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., including vandalism, harassment and assaults. This was a 12 percent increase from 2018.

A number of high-profile anti-Semitic incidents also occurred last year, including the mass shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, and several attacks in New York.

"This was a year of unprecedented anti-Semitic activity, a time when many Jewish communities across the country had direct encounters with hate," said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. "We are committed to fighting back against this rising tide of hate and will double down on our work with elected leaders, schools and communities to end the cycle of hatred."

Buchanan said, "The increase of anti-Semitism that we have seen in Florida and across the country is unacceptable. We must deny the purveyors of anti-Semitism the opportunity to spread this hate among our students."

In 2018, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) released a survey that revealed "significant gaps" in knowledge about the Holocaust. For example, nearly one-third of all Americans (31 percent) believe that substantially fewer than 6 million Jews were killed.

In addition, more than 1 in 10 Americans (11 percent) said they were unaware or not sure what the Holocaust was. The survey also found that almost half of Americans (45 percent) cannot name one Nazi concentration camp.

Greg Schneider, Claims Conference executive vice president, told Newsweek: "The results from our U.S. study on Holocaust knowledge and awareness were deeply disturbing and underscore the importance of Holocaust education in the United States.

"We need to address the troubling gaps in knowledge while survivors—our only firsthand witnesses—are still with us," Schneider continued. "Holocaust education is not just about dates and times; it is about creating an environment where our society understands the impact of hatred so that we can avoid atrocities like the Holocaust in the future."

He added, "A robust and funded national Holocaust education program is an important step in achieving this understanding for our children and future generations."

Auschwitz
The entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Under the federal Never Again Education Act, students in the U.S. will get expanded schooling about the Holocaust. Votava/Imagno/Getty
Trump Wants Americans to Learn About the Holocaust as Anti-Semitism in U.S. at All-Time High | U.S.