WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, April 26, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) applauded the Senate companion introduction of his bipartisan Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons (HEAL) Act. The Senate companion legislation to Gottheimer’s House bill is led by U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK).
Gottheimer introduced the bipartisan HEAL Act in the House earlier this Congress, co-led by Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-6), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10), and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1). In the House, the bipartisan legislation has more than 100 cosponsors.
Gottheimer’s bipartisan HEAL Act will direct the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to conduct a study on Holocaust education efforts in public schools nationwide, which will:
- Determine which states and school districts require or do not require Holocaust education in their curriculum;
- Determine which states and school districts offer optional Holocaust education;
- Identify the standards and requirements schools mandate on this Holocaust education;
- Identify the types and quality of instructional materials used to teach;
- Identify the approaches used by schools to assess what students learn; and
- Report the results of the study to Congress.
Find the House legislative text of the bipartisan HEAL Act here.
“We cannot — and we must not — ever ignore the stunning rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial — across Europe, around the world, and increasingly, here at home in the United States, including the violent, antisemitic attacks we have experienced in my own home state of New Jersey and around the country. The mounting evidence that knowledge about the Holocaust is beginning to fade should also alarm us all,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), the lead sponsor of the bipartisan HEAL Act in the House. “We all have an obligation to teach future generations about this evil. We have an obligation to try to heal our communities. We have an obligation to teach about this stain of hatred, so that it never happens ever again. That is why I’m very proud to have introduced thee HEAL Act — bipartisan legislation asking the Holocaust Memorial Museum to conduct a study on Holocaust education efforts in public schools nationwide. Given the rise of antisemitism and Holocaust denial here at home and around the world, we need leaders willing to stand up now, and stand together against antisemitism, and all forms of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance, which have no place in our country or world.”
There is mounting evidence that knowledge about the Holocaust is beginning to fade. A 2020 survey measuring Holocaust awareness in the U.S. found that roughly two-thirds of those asked did not know how many Jewish people died. The survey of Americans between 18 and 40 also found that 48% could not name one concentration camp or ghetto.
According to recent analysis, a majority of U.S. states do not have laws requiring public school students to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents (2022) captured more than 3,697 incidents throughout the U.S. — a 36% increase from 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking these events in 1979.
From their announcement this week, the Senators stated:
“One of the most effective ways to combat the rise of anti-Jewish bigotry is to improve how we teach about the Holocaust and talk about the dangers of antisemitism,” said Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV). “Never again means ensuring we never forget the important lessons from one of history’s darkest chapters, and our bipartisan legislation will help ensure that Holocaust education in the U.S. is accurate and comprehensive. I’ll continue fighting to make sure we combat antisemitism through education and action.”
“Antisemitism and anti-Jewish crimes remain sadly on the rise in our nation and around the world,” said Senator James Lankford (R-OK). “Senator Rosen and I continue to work together to call out antisemitism no matter who or where it comes from. Our HEAL Act will help assess the current Holocaust-related resources available to schools and communities to ensure educators have the tools they need to teach future generations about the atrocities of the Holocaust and the devastating impact of antisemitism. I will continue to do what I can to ensure future generations never forget the Holocaust and understand the fact that everyone should be able to freely live their faith without fear or persecution.”