Rep. Lisa Subeck Praises Senate Passage of Holocaust Education Bill

MADISON – Today, the Wisconsin State Senate passed Senate Bill 69, authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representatives Jon Plumer (R-Lodi) and Lisa Subeck (D-Madison). The bill would require instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides be incorporated into the social studies curriculum at least once in grades 5 to 8 and at least once in grades 9 to 12 by public school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program.

“Our current era of divisiveness and an increase in anti-Semitic activity highlight the need for Holocaust education in our schools,” said Rep. Subeck.  “The overwhelming bipartisan support for the Holocaust Education Bill underscores the importance of education as a means to counter the disinformation that leads to hate.”

Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in Wisconsin and the United States, and more than a quarter of all recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Wisconsin have taken place among students or on campus. 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.

“I remember interviewing Holocaust survivors when I was a teenager as part of a youth group project. While their stories of survival were nothing short of heroic, they also told of the tragic loss of entire families and entire communities killed in the concentration camps,” said Rep. Subeck. “Children today will likely never meet a Holocaust survivor and hear their stories firsthand, so it is incumbent upon us to ensure this history is never repeated.”

Sixteen states currently require Holocaust education, and legislation is pending in several others.  The Holocaust Education Bill passed in the Assembly during the last legislative session but was not considered by the Senate before the session was abruptly ended by the pandemic. As the bill has now passed the Senate, it will again head to the Assembly for a vote. 

The Wisconsin-based Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) has made a commitment 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. “I am hopeful the Holocaust Education Bill will quickly pass Assembly and be signed into law by Governor Evers.”

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.