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State Capitol

Senate Gives Final Passage to Holocaust Instruction Measure

Stu Johnson

Legislation assuring that Kentucky public school students will be taught about the Holocaust has won final passage in the general assembly.  A holocaust survivor who lives in Kentucky was in attendance for the vote.  

81 year old Fred Gross was held in a concentration camp in France during World War II.  His brother, 13 years older, escaped and returned to help free captives, but Gross says they remained in hiding before making it to Switzerland. Gross remained on the floor of the Senate for the discussion and unanimous vote. 

Eighth graders from Louisville’s St. Francis of Assisi School lobbied for the bill.  Among them, Kaitlin Calvery. “By teaching the Holocaust and learning from the holocaust we were allow to see humanity at its worst and at its best and allows us to come out of learning from the holocaust with a more open mind and more kindness in our heart,” said Calvery

Calvery was among the group who testified in committee.  The legislation requires every public middle and high school to provide instruction on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. The students visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in December.  Eighth grader Rosemary Peters says walking through a cattle car impacted her greatly.  “There weren’t any words, but there was just this feeling of fear and distress that really.  It was just really real and really inspired me,” added Peters.

Holocaust survivor Fred Gross believes the instruction can be significant, particularly if the Holocaust is tied to current events.   “The world is in turmoil today and we have to apply the lessons of the Holocaust to what is going on today and hopefully it will be the children who will save us,” said Gross.

The bill now heads to Governor Bevin’s desk for his consideration.

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