Holocaust Education Bill Signed into Law

MILWAUKEE – Today, State Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) joined Governor Tony Evers at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation as he signed the Holocaust Education Bill (2021 Act 30) into law.  The requires instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides be incorporated into the social studies curriculum at least once in grades 5 through 8 and at least once in grades 9 through 12 for all public school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program.

"The overwhelming bipartisan support for the Holocaust Education Bill illustrates the widespread understanding that the best way to counter misinformation is with a solid educational foundation," said Rep. Subeck. "There are so many lessons to be learned from the Holocaust and other genocides, including the importance of standing up for others in the face of the most extreme oppression. Educating future generations about the most horrific events in our history could be the one thing standing in the way of repeating this history."

At a time when anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes against minority groups are on the rise, knowledge about the Holocaust has declined. Recent studies have found that younger Americans know surprisingly little about the Holocaust. In a recent poll, 22% of millennials said they had never heard of the Holocaust – double the percentage of US adults who said the same. Another study indicated that two-thirds of Americans under the age of 40 do not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and nearly half could not name a single concentration camp. 

 "In the face of an alarming increase in anti-Semitic activity and hate crimes against minority groups, Holocaust education and what is learned from this abhorrent history have become even more critical and more relevant,” said Rep. Subeck. “The youngest Holocaust survivors are now in their late 70s, meaning today's children will likely never have the opportunity to hear their stories firsthand. It is incumbent upon us to ensure their stories and the lessons to be learned from them are never forgotten.”

The Wisconsin-based Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) has committed to the state to provide materials and support at no additional cost to schools.

"Thank you to the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center for their commitment to ensuring the Holocaust is never forgotten and never repeated," said Rep. Subeck. "Additionally, many thanks to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for hosting the signing of the Holocaust Education Bill today."

Representative Lisa Subeck is one of three Jewish legislators in the Wisconsin State Legislature and serves on the board of the National Association of Jewish Legislators. She has represented the 78th Assembly District since 2015 and serves as vice-chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.