Teen Trip to Poland & Israel Complements Massachusetts’ New Genocide Education Law

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March of the Living participants pray at entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp.

The following information was provided by New England Friends of the March of the Living:

Genocide education will be compulsory in all Massachusetts middle and high schools under a bill Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed into law.

The new bill underscores the serious knowledge gap among young Americans that is growing – and becoming more frightening! Examples from recent surveys:                                                                                                                                                       

  • A high school student asks ‘What’s Auschwitz?’
  • Two-thirds of millennials admit not knowing what Auschwitz was.                                                                       
  • 41% of adults don’t know what the Nazi concentration camp was known for.
  • Half of millennials and Gen Z’ers have seen Holocaust denial posts online.              
  • 22% think the Holocaust was associated with World War I. 10% weren’t sure, 5% said the Civil War, and 3% said the Vietnam War.

In an attempt to ensure that the world never forgets the history and lessons of the Holocaust, the New England Friends of March of the Living (MOTL) is offering a $2,000 scholarship for every Jewish Massachusetts high school junior or senior qualifying for the 2022 MOTL trip April 24 – May 8, 2022. “It’s, a life-changing trip to Poland and Israel,” says Aaron Kischel, Director of Teen Programming.” MOTL involves 10,000 teens from 50 countries. He has chaperoned several previous MOTL teentrips.

Kischel says, “Students with Holocaust education are more likely to stand up to negative stereotyping and challenge incorrect, biased information. Education is the best way to prevent ignorance and hate.” Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, said, “When we fail to actively remember the facts, we risk a situation where prejudice and anti-Semitism appear.”

For teen trip details, contact Aaron Kischel: kischel7241@gmail.com / 781-799-4765.  For general info, visit https://motlnewengland.org/).  Kischel recommends early registration as space is limited. N. E. MOTL Chair Irv Kempner says additional financial aid may be available from temples and organizations.

To make a tax-deductible donation toward scholarships, contact Development Chair Jim Slovin — jim@motlnewengland.org / (508) 846-2448. Contributions may be made via the website https://motlnewengland.org/. New England Friends of MOTL is a tax-exempt charitable organization as defined by Federal tax code section 501(c)(3).     

7 thoughts on “Teen Trip to Poland & Israel Complements Massachusetts’ New Genocide Education Law

  1. Hurrah! Congrats to Gov. Baker. Teaching about the Holocaust should have been a requirement long ago. If people were taught the horrors of Auschwitz and the Armenian genocide, we probably wouldn’t have all the Nazi graffiti and other hate crimes against many people. Perhaps empathy would have been learned long ago. Take this as a lesson that we should also teach many of the goods things that the US has done over the years instead of focusing on any evils in our past. We have educators who don’t teach the basics and tend to turn people against each other rather than trying to understand each other by learning from history. There’s an old saying that if you don’t know history, you are apt to repeat it. Today we have people turning businesses and others in for not wearing or enforcing masks and trying to put non-vaccinated people into a separate isolated class to be discriminated against. This sounds so similar to what the brown shirts in Germany did with the Jewish people by demonizing them, isolating them and putting them into camps. Let’s learn from the past and move forward with a more empathetic and understanding approach so that we once again be the UNITED STATES.

    • ALL genocides matter, right? Which means teachers need to be teaching about the genocides that occurred at the hand of the US government? Hmmmm….

  2. While in Israel, I hope they visit the Apartheid Wall and a Palestinian refugee camp as well as Yad Vashem-all are very significant. I applaud Gov. Baker’s law and hope for deep understanding coming from these trips.

  3. There have been so many genocides: Native Americans, Armenians, Jews, Rawandans…. It should be a national program to teach about genocide, not just in Massachusetts. Kids in some states are more likely than those in others to be taught thi, so I believe it should be a national mandate to teach about genocides. Perhaps in middle school there could be an anti-bullying curriculum that links with the genocide curriculum….

  4. WPS has taught about the Holocaust in depth back when my daughter was there(ie before this law, she was in WMS back in 2015-2018). They did a very good job and read some great books from what I remember. They were also blessed to have an actual Holocaust survivor talk to them at an assembly. Something my daughter remembers well. Good to hear that there will be more history taught about other atrocities so that we may learn/prevent from our/others horrific pasts.

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