A Necessary Week of Holocaust Education

Rebecca Lim, Tech Editor

   This past week, students participated in activities and discussions in their social studies classes relating to the Holocaust, the genocide that killed ⅔ of the Jewish population in Europe and 5 million additional victims, which occurred during World War 2. 


   While for most people the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the war may be common knowledge, as time has gone on, studies show that the amount of knowledge that the younger generations have of the Holocaust is decreasing. People under the age of 40, or millennials and Generation Z lack basic knowledge on the genocide; over half of the 11,000 people surveyed thought the death toll was under 2 million


   7% of the young people reported that they were unsure if the Holocaust had actually happened and 3% even completely denied that it ever happened (NBC). Freshman Gavin Poore states, “I believe that Holocaust education is extremely important for kids. I feel like a lot of kids nowadays are not aware of the atrocities that took place during that time, and I am happy that kids were able to be educated [about them]… we cannot let history repeat itself, so I’m glad that students were able to hear and learn about people’s stories and experiences during the Holocaust, and were taught about it in general,” expressing the importance in young people’s awarenss and education on the topic.


   Not to mention, the amount of antisemetic rhetoric and violence has been on the rise. The year 2019 had the highest-ever number of antisemitic incidents, with 2100 reported cases of assault, harassment, and vandalism and a 56% increase in assaults (ADL). 


   These unnerving statistics show the importance of teaching students about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and discrimination as a whole. Stressing the significance of this, sophomore Maria Funes states, “I feel that enhancing our knowledge towards the Holocaust is something super important as it shows the young generation that everyone has the right to have a say in society. No one should be degraded based on their background, and the Holocaust is a great way to check up on these matters.”


   Florida Governor Ron Desantis also signed a bill earlier this year that expanded on public schools’ requirement to incorporate Holocaust education into their curriculum, and proclaimed the week starting on November 10, 2020 Holocaust Education Week in Florida (FLDOE).


   The activities and lessons that were apart of the Holocaust Education Week provided a necessary reminder of how quickly hate, bigotry, and extremism can escalate and take over governments and institutions if people are uneducated about instances in history when they actually did. 


   It also served as a reminder to remain vigilant, and gave students a chance to learn more about the Holocaust than what we learn in textbooks, and to think about ourselves–instead of just information–, the different social groups we belong to, and the ways in which antisemitism and discrimination were prevalent throughout history and continue to be prevalent in today’s society.