Bill on Holocaust, genocide education to receive Senate hearing tomorrow

OLYMPIA…A bill from Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, that would require Washington public schools to teach about the Jewish Holocaust and other campaigns of genocide will receive a public hearing tomorrow (Jan. 17) before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. The committee meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Senate Bill 5851, which has strong bipartisan sponsorship, also would designate April as “International Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month” to provide the opportunity for formal recognition of the horrors and lasting effects of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II and other genocidal campaigns and crimes against humanity.

April was chosen because it is when members of the Jewish faith observe Passover, the eight-day celebration of the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom.

The bill would also strongly encourage public schools to make at least one stand-alone elective course about the Holocaust and genocide available to students while they are in grades 6 – 12.

“I’m pleased and encouraged that the committee will take up this important legislation. I sponsored this bill because of the rise in anti-Semitism we’ve seen around the world after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7 last year and committed the worst acts of violence against the Jews since World War II,” said Braun.

“Protests aimed at Israel, including the one here at the Capitol this past weekend, show a lack of understanding about Jewish struggles throughout history. Apparently, 63% of millennials and Generation Z do not know that 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. More than half can’t name even one of the German concentration camps. More than 10% of them don’t believe the Holocaust happened and nearly as many believe Jews caused the Holocaust. If those numbers are consistent, or are even worse, worldwide, then we’re talking about a global travesty. My bill is a step toward rectifying that here in Washington.”

Anyone wishing to testify on behalf of SB 5851 may do so in person, via Zoom, or by submitting written testimony. Find out how.