Florida Students Honor Memory of Holocaust Survivors During Holocaust Education Week

Press release from Department of Education

This week, Florida students will commemorate the memory of Holocaust victims, survivors, and liberators through the impactful and high-quality instruction of Holocaust education.

Recognized annually during the second week of November, Florida’s Holocaust Education Week coincides with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Also referred to as “Crystal Night,” Kristallnacht marked a major turning point in the state-sponsored and systemic persecution of European Jews when on the night of November 9-10, 1938, hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish homes, schools, and businesses were burned and destroyed at the behest of Nazi officials. To honor the memory of the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, this year’s annual Holocaust Education Week in Florida will be held throughout the week, ending on November 12, 2021.

Statewide, Florida’s public school students will learn developmentally appropriate and historically accurate lessons about this horrific genocide, strengthening their understanding of the potential for governments and people to commit acts of horrendous evil and emphasizing the necessity of protecting individual freedoms and being wary of the tyranny of the majority.

“Holocaust Education Week is an opportunity for all Floridians to reflect on our moral responsibilities as individuals and as a society,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We remember the murder of 6 million Jews, and others, who suffered greatly under the Nazi regime, we remain vigilant against hatred and tyranny, and I am committed to ensuring that the state of Florida remains a safe and welcoming home for the Jewish community.”

“Governor DeSantis’ recognition of Holocaust Education Week further empowers our educators and instills students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become great citizens,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “As tomorrow’s leaders, our students must reflect on the atrocities of the past to protect individual liberties in the future.”

“As the descendant of victims of the Holocaust, I was proud to sponsor the legislation creating Holocaust Education Week, and I am so grateful to Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran for making it such a priority in our schools,” said Representative Randy Fine. “In this time of rising anti-Semitism around the world, it has never been more important to teach our children how the Holocaust happened. We must teach them that, just in the lives of our grandparents, the Jewish people were almost wiped from the Earth. We must — and in Florida we are — ensuring that we never forget.”

“I am honored that I had the privilege of sponsoring and passing in the Florida House one of the most comprehensive bills on Holocaust Education,” said Representative Mike Caruso. “Florida leads on so many important issues, and by teaching our children of the world’s tragic intolerance and injustice of the Holocaust, we teach them to be more tolerant and accepting of all cultures. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail history, are doomed to repeat it.’”

On July 14, 2021, the State Board of Education approved new Holocaust Education Standards, making Florida a model for Holocaust education. Developed in part by content experts, teachers, state and national leaders, and the Commissioner’s Statewide Task Force on Holocaust Education, these standards will provide students an in-depth understanding of anti-Semitism and empower students to uphold the foundations of a just society.

“These lessons ensure the memory of my grandparents, and all Holocaust victims and survivors, will never be forgotten,” said Michael Igel, Chairman of the Commissioner’s Statewide Task Force on Holocaust Education. “The Holocaust is an unequivocal tragedy that demonstrated the depth of humanity. At the same time, through thoughtful instruction, it can also teach students lessons of hope, perseverance, resilience, and unmatched courage.”

To learn more about Holocaust Education Week, visit here.