With strong support, Holocaust education bill waits

A bill to require Holocaust education in Wisconsin could be delayed to next year.

The bill made it easily through committees, after heartfelt testimony from Jewish community advocates and others. It passed unanimously in the state Assembly on Feb. 18, 2020.

“The bill has significant bipartisan support and was on track to receive a vote in the senate, until our regular session was abruptly delayed by the spread of the coronavirus,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for state Senator Scott L. Fitzgerald, the Republican majority leader.

“We expect to consider the bill should the senate be able to safely reconvene in the coming months, but if not, it will have to be reintroduced next January when the next legislative session starts. Senator Fitzgerald personally supports the bill.”

If the bill is reintroduced in the next Legislative session, the Assembly would have to take it up again for it to pass.

The bill would mandate Holocaust education in Wisconsin middle schools and high schools. The bill comes at a moment when, according to recent research, Americans are sorely uninformed on the Holocaust as antisemitism is growing.

The bill would require that the state superintendent consult with an organization in the state that provides Holocaust education programs ­­– the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, is an indisputable leader on this in Wisconsin. Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) wrote the bill after a HERC representative approached her with the idea.