Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Education Mandate
In November 1987, an outbreak of vandalism directed against Jewish stores and synagogues, prompted Erna I. Gans, Holocaust survivor and President of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, to issue a call for action to combat such violence with education in the form of a state mandate.
Gans and other survivors urged legislators to mandate the teaching of the Holocaust as state law. Eventually, mandating Holocaust education, now known as House Bill 3, passed in both the House and Senate. Illinois became the first state in the entire country to require the teaching of the Holocaust in all public elementary and high schools, effective January 1, 1990.
In 2005, the leadership of the new Illinois Holocaust Museum played a key role in the expansion of the existing Mandate to include the study of other modern genocides, underscoring a universal lesson of the Holocaust that national, ethnic, racial, or religious hatred can overtake any nation or society, leading to calamitous consequences.