WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump signed into law on Thursday legislation to allocate $10 million in federal funding over the next five years to further Holocaust education.
Authored by New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Never Again Education Act directs millions of dollars toward expanding the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education program, supporting a website with curriculum materials for teachers and hosting workshops in Holocaust education and awareness throughout the country.
The bill garnered bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, with 302 co-sponsors, and passed by a vote of 393-5 on Holocaust Remembrance Day in January. The Senate then unanimously passed the legislation on May 13, sending it to the president’s desk.
Trump’s signing the measure into law comes as anti-Semitic incidents are soaring in the United States.
Earlier this Month, the Anti-Defamation League released new data showing 2019 had 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents, more than any other year since the group began compiling such data in 1979. Those incidents included 61 physical assault cases, 1,127 instances of harassment and 919 acts of vandalism.
At the time Anti-Defamation League head Jonathan Greenblatt called on political leaders and elected officials to forcefully confront anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.
“If we hope to put the lid back on the sewers of hate, we must not only fight criminal activity, but the apathy that comes when anti-Semitism is normalized,” Greenblatt said in response to the report. “That’s why we insist that our leaders at all levels actually lead and speak out to clearly denounce anti-Semitism and hate, whatever the source and whenever it arises.”
Trump was heavily criticized in August 2017 when he said that “very good people” were marching alongside neo-Nazis in a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The president’s embrace of the Never Again Education Act was praised by Jewish and pro-Israel groups who supported the legislation.
“His act caps a bipartisan effort to ensure educators will have enhanced resources available to teach the critical lessons of the Holocaust,” said Hadassah, a women’s Zionist group, in a statement.
“Studying how the Holocaust happened, to whom and why is not just simply history,” the organization added. “It’s a lesson for today and for the future. You cannot stand up against hatred if you can’t identify it.”
The new law will funnel more money into the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, and require the museum to develop and disseminate accurate and reliable resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust.
The funding will also go toward a website, managed by the Holocaust museum, where educators nationwide can find curriculum materials.
A major study in January showed that most adults in the United States possess a general understanding of the Holocaust, but many do not know basic facts about Nazi Germany’s slaughter of European Jews.
The survey by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of American adults do not know that approximately six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust or that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler came to power via democratic elections.
“With the abhorrent rise in anti-Semitism sweeping across the nation we’ve seen the dramatic impact that ignorance about the Holocaust can have,” Christians United for Israel, a pro-Israel evangelical group, said in a statement. “No student’s education is complete without a firm understanding of the greatest genocide ever committed. “