Savannah Hall: Holocaust Education Crucial for North Carolina High School Students | Editorial columnists

Did you know that 63 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust according to a recent study?

On top of that, 36% of those polled believed that less than 2 million people had been murdered. Ten percent of the participants said they didn’t think the Holocaust had happened or that they didn’t know whether it had happened or not.

The previously stated facts can be found in a study published by the Chicago Tribune in September 2020. The study involved 11,000 people from Generation Z to Generation Y. These findings come from a dangerous lack of information and are often the result of disinformation.

Sadly, Gen Z, my own generation, knew the least in this study and many others like it. This is alarming for many reasons. What if this cycle of misinformation and information scarcity continues? What happens if the Holocaust is forgotten in history?

The simple answer to this question is that history repeats itself. The same events and tragedies of the past can and will happen again if we are unable to learn from them or ignore them. They can occur in different ways but according to the same principles, such as with mass extinctions of different species or genocides as with the Holocaust.

How can we prevent this from happening? We can start by doing our own research and incorporating education about the Holocaust into public schools across the United States.

Currently, 32 US states are not required to teach about the Holocaust. Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin require education on the subject (Maine and Arkansas mandate it in the next few years).

Our own state of North Carolina does not currently require education on the subject, but plans to integrate it in the 2023-2024 school year. This still leaves many states that will not need education on the subject in the near future.

The younger generation will inevitably grow up to uplift future generations. If the young people of today are not educated, the people of tomorrow certainly will not be.

Learning about the Holocaust will not only educate about what happened and how it happened, but will promote topics such as social justice, examining fundamental moral issues, understanding how propaganda, the dangers of remaining neutral or silent, and understanding the value of living in a diverse and pluralistic society.

By simply incorporating subject education into public schools, we can help avoid statistics such as those found at the beginning of this article.

Savannah Hall, 19, is a student at East Carolina University in Ayden studying neuroscience and psychology. The essay is her final project for her course on the Holocaust.


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