The World Jewish Congress (WJC) welcomes a new Romanian law that mandates Holocaust and Jewish History educational programs in high schools across the country.
“The WJC is optimistic that a law introduced by the representatives of the Jewish and German minorities in the Romanian Parliament, mandating the study of the Holocaust and Jewish history in all high schools throughout the country, will help its citizens develop a greater understanding of this chilling period as well as the dangers of antisemitism and other forms of racial and religious hatred,” said World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder.
The law stipulates that the new curriculum will be introduced in 2023.
The WJC salutes the parliamentarians behind the law: MP Silviu Vexler, MP Ovidiu Ganț and the leaders of the main political parties and parliamentary factions that co-sponsored it: MP Marcel Ciolacu (Social Democratic Party), Sen. Sorin Cîmpeanu (National Liberal Party), Sen. Anca Dragu (Save Romania Union), MP Kelemen Hunor (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania) and MP Varujan Pambuccian (National Minorities Parliamentary Group).
MP Vexler, who also serves as the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities, said, “We are setting the foundation for our common future, a modern framework through which young people can learn and understand what happened in the past as a central part in their formation as citizens. Education and understanding are our best tools to cultivate democracy and freedom, and to fight antisemitism, intolerance and extremism.”
The law also establishes a national prize named for Constantin Karadja. A Romanian diplomat and man of letters, Karadja worked valiantly during the years of the Holocaust to rescue thousands of Jews from deportation and death by disobeying instructions he received from his superiors. On Sept. 15, 2005, the gallant rescuer, who died impoverished and disgraced in 1950, was posthumously named as “Righteous Among the Nations.”
Amb. Lauder added, “Compulsory Holocaust education is an important step in Romania’s belated confrontation with its own past and an acknowledgement of the role it played in the destruction of its own Jewish citizens and Jews in parts of the Soviet Union occupied by Romanian forces. Romania, once home to one of the largest and most vibrant Jewish communities in Europe, has a responsibility to educate its citizens and to play an active role in the fight against antisemitism. All governments, but especially those in what was once the epicenter of the Shoah, must prioritize that struggle. They must develop comprehensive national strategies to combat that age-old lethal hatred – and Holocaust education is a crucial step.”
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