New Kentucky law requires Holocaust education

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY – A new Kentucky law requires public schools to teach your children about the Holocaust. It was passed unanimously in the state Senate. Only one senator did not vote.

This May 1944 photo shows Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia arriving at Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

The law requires Kentucky middle and high school students to not only learn about the Holocaust, but other genocides around the world.

At McCracken County High School, it’s another project presentation day, but the class is unusually silent.

“This is a picture of some people at the camp,” said Senior Elise Jez. “You can tell — by their knees are swollen and how small their legs are —you can tell they are being starved.”

The students are learning about the Holocaust. Mr. Jones’ class spends a week on that topic.

“It will make students feel uncomfortable sometimes,” said teacher Chris Jones. He teaches the world civilizations class, and he said he covers the Holocaust every year. “It’s something I’ve always taught, and it needs to be remembered.”

The textbook he uses only skims the surface of history. There are just three pages dedicated to the Holocaust, but Jones said his class goes beyond that.

“When you talk about that big of a death toll — 6 to 7 million Jews, 12 millions unofficially — you talk about the German extermination methods. Some of those Nazi doctors were so evil and so cruel. It is sensitive, and before we ever take one note on it. I talk to them about the sensitivity of it,” Jones said.

The new law won’t impact his class, because he’s already teaching the subject. “It wasn’t that long ago. A lot of people make it out to be ancient history, but it was just a few generations back.”

But the law will require all schools to take on the responsibility of informing students about this part of history if they aren’t already. The law is called the Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act.

Klein and Gross were both Holocaust survivors. Gross is still alive.

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