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California Department of Education
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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #24-23
April 30, 2024
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Honored for Leadership in Holocaust and Genocide Education

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent Tony Thurmond was honored today by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus for his leadership in the area of Holocaust and Genocide Education. Thurmond was honored alongside leaders and educators from the Jewish Family & Children’s Services Holocaust Center as well as Holocaust survivors and their descendants who have chosen to share their stories as part of educational initiatives.

"I am deeply honored by this recognition from the California Legislative Jewish Caucus for our collective efforts in Holocaust and Genocide Education. Through education, we not only honor the memory of the victims but also strive to ensure that such atrocities never happen again,” Thurmond said. “By understanding the horrors of the past, we empower ourselves to build a future rooted in empathy, tolerance, and justice."

Senate Concurrent Resolution 135 (Wiener), commemorating Yom HaShoah and honoring leaders in Holocaust Education, was supported by the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, Latino Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and Legislative Black Caucus in solidarity.

In January, Thurmond launched an oral history speaker series for Holocaust survivors and their family members to share their personal perspectives with students. He is also the co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education.

Many of his efforts come after a nationwide survey released in 2020 showed a lack of “Holocaust knowledge” among adults under 40; more than one in 10 respondents did not recall ever having heard the word “Holocaust" External link opens in new window or tab.. Sixty-three percent of Millennials and Generation Z surveyed did not know that six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and over half who did know thought the death toll was fewer than two million people. More than 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos were established during World War II, but nearly half of U.S. respondents failed to name a single one. Recent surveys indicate that one in five young Americans think the Holocaust is a myth.

The oral history event was the beginning of a series of survivor testimonies that Thurmond will host in districts across California. Educators who are interested in bringing these historic testimonies to their students should contact

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 30, 2024
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