Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Calls for Holocaust Education in Schools

Aug 28, 2019
Press Release
Co-Sponsors “Never Again Education Act”. Florida Principal Reassigned After Denying Holocaust.Shocking Video of California Teens Saluting Hitler, Singing Nazi Songs

WASHINGTON -- Following an alarming rise in anti-Semitism across the country, Congressman Vern Buchanan Wednesday called for passage of legislation he co-sponsored to help educate students nationwide about the horrors of the Holocaust. Shockingly, a 2018 survey found that 22 percent of U.S. millennials have either never heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust. 

The Never Again Education Act would establish a fund at the Department of Education to award grants for Holocaust education programs and create regional workshops to assist teachers in high schools and middle schools throughout the country incorporate Holocaust education into their curricula.

Last month, a Florida principal was reassigned after refusing to say whether the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event.”  

“Anti-Semitism has no place in our country, especially in our schools. We need to do all we can to combat this evil ideology,” said Buchanan, a member of the bipartisan Taskforce to Combat anti-Semitism in Congress. “That is why I strongly urge Congress to pass the Never Again Education Act.”   

Buchanan noted a Bradenton Herald report this week said that although Florida law has required Holocaust education since 1994, it remains unclear — 25 years later — whether all school districts are taking part or how compliance should be measured. The operators of the Al Katz Center for Holocaust Survivors and Jewish Learning in Bradenton are pushing for more robust Holocaust education in the community.

Buchanan’s call for action on the Never Again Education Act also comes after a video surfaced of California high school students singing a Nazi song and giving Nazi salutes.

Florida is one of only 11 states with laws mandating education on the Holocaust, the systematic slaughter of an estimated six million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the U.S. Jewish community experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism in 2018. The ADL also stated that there were a total of 1,879 recorded attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in the last year alone - the third-highest year on record since the group began recording such data in the 1970s.

These sobering statistics include a doubling of anti-Semitic assaults and the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history when an alleged white supremacist opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, killing 11 people and injuring seven others. 

The bill is supported by prominent groups including: the ADL, the American Zionist Movement, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, World Jewish Congress North America and the Center for Jewish History.

“This funding and training would help educators teach young Americans of the Holocaust’s atrocities,” Buchanan continued. “We must deny the purveyors of anti-Semitism the opportunity to spread this hate amongst our students.”

In July, Buchanan announced that he co-sponsored three bills supporting Israel, including one denouncing the insidious BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against the Jewish State.   

Sixteen members of Congress have co-sponsored a resolution supporting the BDS movement, comparing their crusade to delegitimize Israel with the boycotts of Nazi Germany before the Holocaust.

Last year, Buchanan addressed a group of Sarasota and Manatee Jewish leaders, stating that America must continue to stand with the only democracy in the Middle East in the shared fight against radical Islamic terrorists. Sarasota AIPAC leader David Chaifetz of Sarasota, has praised Buchanan’s record on Israel, stating “There has not been a greater defender of Israel in the U.S. Congress than Vern Buchanan.”