By Elle Baker
February 19, 2021
January 27th, 1945, the day Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, now known as International Holocaust Remebrance Day. On the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust, the United Nations came together to commemorate a day for international remembrance, some choosing to following the January 27th tradition or other dates more meaningful to the nation, as with Israel’s Yom HaShoah observed on the 27th of May or April depending on the Jewish calendar.
Many are unaware there is such a thing as a Holocaust Remembrance Day since it is not widely reported on new outlets or practiced on social media. This goes hand in hand with the upsetting growth of Anti-Semetic and Holocaust denials across the globe. Only 16 out of the 50 states have a curriculum that require teachings of the genocide of 6 million Jews and 11 million others. The remaining states are often hot spots for Anti-Semetism and naivete to the reality of the Holocaust because they are uneducated. Even if they are taught some of the events, there is reason to believe that their lessons are neither extensive nor thought-provoking for the students. Some teachers feel it is too graphic of a topic or something of the past that will not be repeated, so why bother teaching the students and reminding the teachers of something that simply could not happen again?
Some educators do not even believe the Holocaust was a real event in history. This horrifying fact was proven in 2018, when a Floridian Principal exchanged emails with a parent regarding their student’s education on the Holocaust. The principal went on to say, “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee. You have your thoughts, but we are a public school, and not all of our parents have the same beliefs,” according to USA Today.
This occurred over three years ago. Since then, various surveys have been conducted to record how many people are actually familiar with the events of the Holocaust, even just familiar with the name Auschwitz. More than half of Austrians surveyed didn’t know six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, with nearly 60% of millennials and Generation Z not knowing the death toll, either. Furthermore, a quarter of Austrians and almost a third of its millennials and Gen Z-ers thought one million or fewer Jews were killed.
All of this comes down to education. By not implementing rigorous and extensive lessons in the curriculum, not only in America but across the globe, has shown that people are forgetting or not even being aware of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust. It is even sadder to hear that people within the countries were not only victims to Hitler’s regime, but took part in its actions, do not know nor believe that they actually transpired. It is safe to say that there is a large amount of work to be done to ensure future generations are educated on the past, as it slips further and further into history, so that it may stay just that: in the past.
As technology advances, it is critical that we find more ways to engage the younger generations in self-education if they are not receiving one from their schools, utilizing the platforms that are often taken advantage of. In honor of this Remembrance Day, please take some time to educate yourself so that you can take part in the betterment of society to guarantee history does not repeat itself.