Toni Boucher calls for Holocaust education

A recent hello, Redding article alerted State Senator Toni Boucher that a swastika was carved into a tree in Redding. Several other swastikas have appeared in other towns in her jurisdiction: notably Ridgefield and Wilton.

Boucher has said that although school districts across the state have been encouraged to teach about the Holocaust in history classes, its time to do something more.

“Acts of anti-Semitism are continuing, and it seems that there’s an awful lack of knowledge about just how serious what happened during the Holocaust was,” Boucher said. “All of this really brought to mind that we have to do something more.”

Boucher plans to introduce legislation that would require that World War II and the Holocaust be taught in Connecticut’s public schools, hoping that having all students learn the “dark history” behind the swastika will make them think twice about using it.

Redding and Easton’s Joel Barlow High School already offers a very popular class called, “Madmen as Hero.” This class views the world through the lens of dictators like Hitler and Mussolini.

Recent Barlow graduate, Lee Winters, took the class last year when he was a senior. Winters said that he was shocked at how many students didn’t know anything about the Holocaust and had not even been exposed to “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Education from his family and his synagogue taught Winters about the horrors of the Holocaust and the symbolism of the swastika. He also spent a semester of his high school junior year in Israel. His class there visited Poland and several concentration camps including Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Boucher plans on introducing the new legislation in a few weeks.