Holocaust Education Bill Approved by Committee

March 20, 2018

Hartford – Monday, the legislature’s Education Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 452, An Act Concerning The Inclusion Of Holocaust And Genocide Education And Awareness In The Social Studies Curriculum. The bill now moves to the Senate for approval.

Education Co-Chair Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) proposed the bill with the support of the committee’s leadership and the Jewish Federation of Connecticut. If passed, the bill would require all Connecticut high schools to include education about the Holocaust and other genocides from throughout history as part of the social studies curriculum.

“I want to thank the committee and all who spoke or submitted testimony in favor of this legislation. All of the bill’s supporters provided compelling testimony about why teaching this subject is so important, especially today,” Sen. Boucher said. “The Holocaust survivors and children of survivors remind us that we are losing the eye witnesses to the atrocities that took place nearly 80 years ago. We cannot let the knowledge of this sad chapter in world history disappear with them.”

Sen. Boucher said she worked with the committee on the legislation after seeing reports about the significant increase in anti-Semitism and the rise in racial hatred throughout our country and the world.

“Even in Connecticut, where we have a significant Jewish population, we have seen graffiti and the distribution of racist fliers,” she said. “That alone tells us that too many young people are not learning about the attempted mass extinction of an entire race of people and other so-called undesirables during World War II.”

Sen. Boucher said she was touched particularly by the testimony of the survivors and their relatives.

Jacob Liebowitz told the committee that his grandparents carried the tattoos of their time in Auschwitz, where they were degraded, humiliated, beaten, ostracized, and subjected to unfathomable horrors.

“I was really blessed to have known my grandparents, who taught love and compassion and kindness,” Liebowitz said. “If they can teach that, after what they lived through, and we have teachers that can teach the lessons of the Holocaust and Genocide, then maybe we have a fighting chance.”

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.