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Holocaust and genocide curriculum to be taught in Oregon schools beginning 2020

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school years, a history of the Holocaust and genocide will be taught at Oregon schools

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown signed SB 664 into law during a ceremony at the Oregon Jewish Museum on Monday. 

The new bill requires holocaust and genocide history be taught in public schools in the state.

Holocaust survivors were part of the push to get specific teachings about the Jewish genocide into Oregon schools.

While some of it has been taught in other ways, a full education wasn't required until now.

"Our hope for the future is strengthened by knowing that this part of history won't be forgotten and will be taught in Oregon Public Schools to our future generations in order to stop future genocides," said Eva Aigner, a Holocaust survivor.

With the passage of the bill, leaders of Jewish organizations will work with the state department of education to build a curriculum, first for middle and high schoolers. 

A teen from Lake Oswego was inspired by her friendship with a Holocaust Survivor to push for the bill.

Claire Sarnowski's friendship with Alter Wiener, a longtime advocate and Holocaust educator was the driving force behind the bill. Weiner died at the age of 92, after being hit by a car earlier this year.

RELATED: Community honors Holocaust survivor and author, Alter Wiener

"It’s definitely an emotional day, there’s a lot that went into this day a lot of hard work by a lot of people," said Sarnowski.

For survivor Ruth Bolliger, there is a sense of relief that the education will begin for students.

"I’m also very proud of Oregon, of our governor. And I am, as I always am, really grateful to live here – first of all really grateful to live, and really grateful to live here," said Bolliger.

The curriculum is to be in place for the 2020-21 school year.