October 30, 2023
VANCOUVER – Following discussions with B’nai Brith Canada and its League for Human Rights, the Government of British Columbia has decided to mandate Holocaust education for high school students with additions to Grade 10 curricula in 2025.
“This is an important development,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is something B’nai Brith and the League have been working on for a considerably long period. Six-million Jews were murdered at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen and, sadly, many students have not been sufficiently educated in recent years about the Holocaust. So this is a step in the right direction.”
B.C Premier David Eby said Monday that it has been a “frightening time” for the Jewish community after deadly terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel earlier this month. He also reiterated information from B’nai Brith that there has been a rise in antisemitism in the province. Eby commented that combating hate begins with education so that similar horrors are not repeated.
“We were delighted a few months ago when the Ontario Government introduced mandatory Holocaust education in elementary schools,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director for B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. “We hope that, before too long, each and every province will commit to Holocaust education.”
Recently, Rotrand held discussions about the importance of introducing Holocaust education with Rachna Singh, B.C’s Minister of Education and Child Care.
A 2019 Canadian study found that one in five students were unaware of the Holocaust and its horrors. A more recent North American study found that nearly a third of students don’t know what to think about the Holocaust, believe the number of Jews who died has been exaggerated, or question whether it even happened.
The study also found a striking 40 per cent of students learned about the Holocaust from social media, which, of course, is dangerous since misinformation and false history are commonplace online.
According to B’nai Brith’s 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada, there were 242 antisemitic incidents in B.C.. They are becoming more common because of the recent Hamas attacks.