SAN ANTONIO – A two-year effort to ensure that the victims of the Holocaust won’t be forgotten reached a milestone last week.
A federal bill passed last week secured $10 million over the next five years for Holocaust education in schools nationwide.
In April of 2018, bipartisan legislators and a Jewish nonprofit called Hadassah worked together to propose the Never Again Education Act.
"My father was a refugee from Germany and he served in the U.S. Army in WWII but he had relatives who went through the camps, relatives who didn't survive and relatives who did survive," said Marion Bernstein, the president of San Antonio's chapter of Hadassah, an international Jewish nonprofit supporting a spectrum of missions.
Bernstein has dedicated years ensuring Holocaust education will continue for future generations.
“Our children and grandchildren have no idea they don’t have that immediate connection and soon the last of the survivors will be gone and when that happens we don’t want this to be forgotten,” Bernstein said.
Hadassah teamed up with U.S. representatives and senators to create the Never Again Education Act supporting holocaust education curriculum for schools to prevent genocide, hate, and bigotry nationwide.
It specifically tasks the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., with expanding its education programming and distributing it to schools across the country.
It authorizes $10 million dollars over 5 years for:
- The museum’s program development
- Local, regional, and national workshops
- Teacher trainings
- Education materials and field trips to museums
“Absolute joy,” Bernstein said about hearing the news of the bill’s passing. “I was so grateful to our legislators who put this together and to vote for it. It took Republicans and Democrats everybody to get on board and say this is something that’s worthy of remembering.”
During a politically tense time, it's a great example of bipartisanship to support a bill that encourages our nation to be more inclusive, understanding and compassionate.
Also a big success this year, the Texas legislature passed a bill that mandates schools to observe Holocaust Memorial Week every year.
That effort began with four local San Antonio women.
Local school districts and teachers that want help with resources in teaching the Holocaust can contact the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio.
The museum has resources designed specifically for teachers including virtual tours, testimonies, local resources, and books.
The local museum is part of the Conference for Holocaust Education Centers (CHEC) Partnership. Staff members keep in touch with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C.