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Gov. Brown signs bill requiring Oregon schools to teach about Holocaust

By Clyde Hughes
Gov. Brown signs bill requiring Oregon schools to teach about Holocaust
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Monday signs a bill requiring Holocaust and genocide education in state public schools. Photo courtesy Gov. Kate Brown Office Twitter

July 16 (UPI) -- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a new law Monday requiring that the Holocaust and other genocides be taught in state public middle and high schools beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

Brown signed the bill at the Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland with Holocaust survivors in attendance.

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"Now more than ever we must empower our children with knowledge so together we can stomp out the growing hate in our country," Brown said in a statement on Twitter. "Proud to sign the Holocaust education bill today, mandating Oregon schools to teach our kids about genocide so this history is never forgotten or ignored."

Oregon teenager Claire Sarnowski led the push for the state to require the course because of her friendship with Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener. Wiener died at 92 earlier this year in a pedestrian-auto accident. Jewish organizations in Oregon are expected to help the schools create a curriculum.

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"Our hope for the future is strengthened by knowing that this part of history won't be forgotten and will be taught in Oregon Public Schools to our future generations in order to stop future genocides," Eva Aigner, a Holocaust survivor, told KGW-TV.

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State Sen. Rob Wagner, who helped marshal the measure into law, said at the signing ceremony that he has noticed an increase in racism and antisemitism activities over the past two years.

"There were swastikas showing up on bathroom walls and the junior high and posters of Jews being pushed into ovens that were lacquered in our high school," Wagner said. "And in my own neighborhood, there were anti-Jewish posters that were put up on light poles outside of our local synagogue."

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