Victorian students will now be required to learn about the Holocaust in a bid to combat rising “antisemitism and far-right extremism around the world,” Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
The move would affect all Year 9 and 10 students in Victoria, and comes after a spate of antisemitic incidents in the state and elsewhere.
While the Holocaust is already in the Victorian high school curriculum, it is not necessarily taught in all schools. It is also not always taught as well as it should be, the government added.
Students will learn what happened, how it happened – and how to stop it from happening again.
They'll learn how frighteningly relevant those lessons still are today.
And they'll learn to never forget.
Because if you want to change our society, you have to change our schools.
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) February 26, 2020
“It is vital that each generation understands the horror of the Holocaust to ensure it can never be repeated and to educate the community on the damage caused by antisemitism, racism and prejudice,” Education Minister James Merlino said.
“This is about using this terrible historical event to talk to students and educate them about the broader issues of racism and prejudice in our society.”
The Victorian government will work with Gandel Philanthropy and the Jewish Holocaust Centre to improve current teaching resources which are adapted from the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel.
Several European countries, Israel and some American states have laws mandating the teaching of the Holocaust in schools
Victoria has seen an alarming number of alt-right and antisemitic incidents in recent years, including a home in north-west Victoria flying the Nazi flag last month and scuffles at a far-right rally in St Kilda last January.
Just this week, Australia’s top intelligence officer warned of rising foreign interference and far-right extremism in Australia, and yesterday Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned that Holocaust denialism and far-right movements were gaining traction in a speech at the Australian War Memorial. Frydenberg is the son of a Jewish refugee who escaped Hungary during the Holocaust.
And who could forget in 2018 when former senator Fraser Anning literally used the words “final solution” in his maiden speech?
The Victorian government expects to have the curriculum amended later in the year.
Image: Getty Images / Beata Zawrzel