As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles each year, the Jewish community increasingly faces the daunting challenge of ensuring that the next generation is thoroughly educated about the heinous atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Third Reich. Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is advocating for the introduction of a formal Holocaust curriculum in area charedi schools to address this concern.”Educating our children about our past is our only key to securing our future,” Hikind noted. “The next generation must know how and why our enemies sought to destroy us, and more importantly, how we persevered in spite of appalling cruelty.”
At a meeting today with prominent rabbonim and mechanchim, Hikind distributed copies of Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein’s recently published work, Witness to History (Project Witness, 2009), a brilliant compilation of Holocaust literature, scholarly research, and eyewitness accounts. Woven together into an accessible and aesthetically pleasing format, Witness to History also captures the unique charedi experience during the Shoah, which many existing academic texts do not.
“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there has not been a great emphasis placed on Holocaust education in the charedi community,” remarked Hikind. “I am hoping to change the status quo.” Toward that end, Hikind is encouraging the principals of local charedi yeshivot to utilize Lichtenstein’s book as the primary text for teaching their students about the Holocaust.
Hikind, a child of Holocaust survivors, also represents the largest contingent of Holocaust survivors in the world in his Boro Park, Brooklyn Assembly district.