WASHINGTON — The House on Monday overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at improving Holocaust awareness among younger Americans.
All Nebraska and Iowa House members supported the measure, which passed 393-5.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., was among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked to get the legislation passed.
At a press conference ahead of the vote, Omaha’s congressman cited the need to combat rising anti-Semitism in the U.S. and around the world.
“This is an evil. Anti-Semitism is an evil. Its manifestations are evil,” Bacon said. “And the Holocaust was one of the worst crimes ever committed against mankind in the history of humanity.”
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Bacon cited incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Nebraska, such as the recent painting of swastikas on a Lincoln synagogue.
Bacon also referred to surveys that indicate that many young Americans are unaware of what happened at concentration camps such as Auschwitz and don’t realize the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust. He said the legislation should help make a difference in addressing that lack of knowledge.
The legislation creates a grant program supporting Holocaust education programs and regional workshops that help teachers incorporate Holocaust education into their lesson plans.
Under the bill, the Department of Education would create a Holocaust education website with resources for those in middle school and high school. It also would establish a Holocaust education advisory board to aid the department’s activities in the area.
The bill must still be approved by the Senate before going to the president’s desk.
Photos: Nebraska's and Iowa's members of Congress
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