The B.C. government plans to enhance its Grade 10 social studies curriculum. Starting in the 2025-26 school year, it will include mandatory education about the Holocaust.
“We have seen a rise in antisemitism in B.C. following the terrorist attacks in Israel, which evokes the history of persecution of Jews,” Premier David Eby said in a news release. “Combatting this kind of hate begins with learning from the darkest parts of our history, so the same horrors are never repeated.”
He pledged to work with the Jewish community “to make sure learning about the Holocaust becomes a requirement for all high school students”.
The premier also promised more learning around “the destruction of Hogan’s Alley, Japanese internment and discrimination against other culturally diverse groups such as Muslim, East-Asian, Black and South-Asian communities”.
In 2022, the number of police-reported hate crimes rose seven percent across Canada to 3,576 incidents. The largest number of these crimes, 829, were committed against Black people in the category of “race or ethnicity”.
In the category of religion, 502 police-reported hate crimes were committed against Jewish people. In addition, there were 102 police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2022. Another 491 police-reported hate crimes were committed against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Surveys have demonstrated a great deal of ignorance about the Holocaust among younger people.
In 2018, for example, one reported that 22 percent of millennial and Gen Z respondents hadn’t heard of or weren’t sure that they had heard of the Holocaust. Moreover, 62 percent of millennials and Gen Z respondents did not know that six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.
A more recent Liberation75 survey of students from Grade 6 to 12 found that just over half knew how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust.