Nebraska Lawmaker Wants Holocaust Discussion In Schools


Nebraska’s multicultural law would be broadened to teach about genocide

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Eleanor Dunning said she was shocked when she saw a fellow college student throw up a Nazi signal, and doubly so when the student escaped repercussion from school officials.

State Sen. Jen Day of the Gretna area said she was stunned to learn via recent email that an Omaha area school had tried to teach lessons of the Holocaust but stopped after receiving pushback.

Such incidents underscore the necessity, they and others testified Tuesday, of Legislative Bill 888 — which would add the Holocaust and other acts of genocide to existing Nebraska statutes that already call for multicultural education to K-12 students in public schools.

Currently, the law requires that multicultural education focus on the culture, history and contributions of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans.


Introduced by Day, the broader language had been pushed previously by a former lawmaker but stalled.

Ten people testified Tuesday in support of the resurrected measure presented to the Education Committee. No one spoke in opposition.

The committee took no action, though Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks said she found it “despicable” — and a reflection of “the state of politics today” — that the school Day referred to (but did not identify by name) would receive such pushback about Holocaust education. 

Day cited a recent survey indicating that 66% of millennials were unable to identify Auschwitz (the Nazi concentration and death camp).

That the Holocaust’s systematic murder of six million European Jews occurred relatively recently, during World War II, is further reason to be alarmed, Day said.

“Never Again”

She said she was further concerned that only nine Holocaust survivors remain in Nebraska as a “living, breathing” tool that can equip students with the knowledge to identify and reject discrimination and hate.

“We’re really missing those human to human stories,” said Day. “Ignorance will only increase as (the Holocaust) falls further into history.”

Gary Javitch of B’nai B’rith Omaha said a spike in anti-Semitism is “reason enough” to increase Holocaust education. He said Nebraska should become the 24th state to adopt the legal language.

Said Javitch: “The phrase ‘never again’ needs to be more than just a slogan.”

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Cate Folsom for questions: Follow Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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