DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The government-sanctioned deaths of millions in the Holocaust is a World War II fact now to be clearly defined by North Carolina law.
“It makes sure that kids are not finishing their education without basic knowledge of one of the most formative and unfortunately terrible acts of the 20th century,” said Rabbi Daniel Greyber of Beth El Synagogue in Durham.
Among the hundreds and hundreds of pages in the state budget, page 108 doesn’t get lost in its importance. The Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act calls the education of the Holocaust essential; defines antisemitism; states as fact the murder of 6 million Jews, homosexuals, socialists, and others; condemns Holocaust denial; and sets a guideline to develop a public classroom curriculum.
Modeled after the Never Again Education Act passed by Congress in 2020, it’s taken several years for the state legislature to move forward. It’s something Rabbi Greber is glad to see.
“We are fooling ourselves if we don’t think this can happen again. We’re seeing it happen again and we need to be aware and educate ourselves about how this happens so it doesn’t happen in our country and so that our country takes steps in trying to stop these things from happening around the world.”
The act is named for concentration camp survivor and Poland native Gizella Anderson. After finding a new home in North Carolina, she spent her life educating people about the Holocaust. Even so, this many years later, there are still many challenges.
“Here in the Triangle, there have been incidents of swastikas, of the use of antisemitic language, of people spouting virulent antisemitism in public forums including the Durham City Council meeting, and those things are dangerous,” Greyber said.
And just one more reason Greyber believes teaching the truth can perhaps overcome the hate.