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January 17, 2007

Holocaust survivor Eva Kor urges Indiana lawmakers for more education on subject

INDIANAPOLIS — As she addressed Indiana lawmakers Wednesday, Holocaust survivor Eva Kor described herself as a “dramatic example of the price of prejudice.”

She lost family members in the Holocaust, and she and her twin sister, Miriam, were victims of Dr. Josef Mengele’s human experiments while they were imprisoned at Auschwitz.

Kor addressed the House Education Committee to help win support for a bill that would make Holocaust education mandatory in Indiana as part of high school U.S. history courses.

The bill was written by Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute. This is the third year he has introduced such legislation.

“Prejudice was one of the major evils that made it possible for Hitler to rise to power and murder 11 million innocent people,” Kor said. “Holocaust education is a peaceful and meaningful way in trying to prevent prejudice.”

Her testimony apparently had an effect. The committee unanimously passed the bill, which now goes to the full House for a vote.

The past two years, the bill didn’t even receive a committee hearing, Kersey said. This year, he introduced an amendment that he believes made it more acceptable to those who might have objected.

Before, the bill required that school districts include Holocaust education as part of the curriculum, and some might have interpreted that as requiring a new class and additional teachers.

Under Kersey’s amendment, it would be incorporated into U.S. history, which is a required high school course.

Indiana already includes in state education standards the teaching about the Nazis’ extermination of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II.

Now, the Holocaust education bill requires that it be taught in U.S. history classes, Kersey said.

He believes Kor’s testimony “had a tremendous impact. She gives compelling testimony,” said Kersey, a member of the Education Committee.

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