New Jersey Department of Education

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New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education

Mandate Legislation

RE: N.J.S.A. 18A:35-28, Holocaust/Genocide Education

The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education has received a number of inquiries from educators on whether or not school districts and charter schools must include instruction on the Holocaust and genocides in elementary and secondary education. 

As a reminder, in 1994 the legislature voted unanimously in favor of an act requiring education on the Holocaust and genocide in elementary and secondary education and it subsequently signed into law by Governor Whitman.  The law indicates that issues of bias, prejudice and bigotry, including bullying through the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide, shall be included for all children from K-12th grade.  Because this is a law and in Statute any changes in standards would not impact the requirement of education on this topic in all New Jersey public schools.

This Statute remains current and must be incorporated when developing new or revised curriculum. A review of the English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical subjects suggests that it can be used as a framework in developing a well articulated multi-disciplinary K-12 Holocaust/genocide program of study.

For recommendations of incorporating Holocaust and genocide education into grades K – 12 curriculum, the Commission encourages educators to use the study guides available on the Commission website at, New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education - Curriculum.   Please do not hesitate to contact the Commission at if you need more information on the law or additional resources.

State of New Jersey
Adopted March 10, 1994
Sponsored by Senators Ewing, McGreevey, and Sinagra

AN ACT regarding genocide education in the public schools and supplementing chapter 35 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statues.

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

  1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

    a. New Jersey has recently become the focal point of national attention for the most venomous and vile of ethnic hate speeches.

    b. There is an inescapable link between violence and vandalism and ethnic and racial intolerance. The New Jersey Department of Education itself has formally recognized the existence of the magnitude of this problem in New Jersey schools by the formation of a Commissioner's Task Force on Violence and Vandalism.

    c. New Jersey is proud of its enormous cultural diversity. The teaching of tolerance must be made a priority if that cultural diversity is to remain one of the State's strengths.

    d. National studies indicate that fewer than 25% of students have an understanding of organized attempts throughout history to eliminate various ethnic groups through a systematic program of mass killing or genocide.

    e. The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, created pursuant to P.L.1991.c.193 (C.18A:4A-1 et seq.), several years ago expanded its mission to study and recommend curricular material on a wide range of genocides. The Holocaust Commission is an ideal agency to recommend curricular materials to local districts.

  2. a. Every board of education shall include instruction on the Holocaust and genocides in an appropriate place in the curriculum of all elementary and secondary school pupils.

    b. The instruction shall enable pupils to identify and analyze applicable theories concerning human nature and behavior: to understand that genocide is a consequence of prejudice and discrimination: and to understand that issues of moral dilemma and conscience have a profound impact on life. The instruction shall further emphasize the personal responsibility that each citizen bears to fight racism and hatred whenever and wherever it happens.

  3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to curriculum offerings in the 1994-95 school year.


The core mission of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education is to promote Holocaust education in the State of New Jersey. On a continual basis, the Commission shall survey the status of Holocaust/Genocide Education; design, encourage and promote the implementation of Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; provide programs in New Jersey; and coordinate designated events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state. The Commission will provide assistance and advice to the public and private schools and will meet with county and local school officials, and other interested public and private organizations, to assist with the study of the Holocaust and genocide.

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Contact Us

Phil Kirschner, Esq.

Lawrence M. Glaser
Executive Director
(609) 376-3968 phone

State of New Jersey
Commission on Holocaust Education
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 633-8599 fax

The New Jersey Holocaust Commission is an autonomous body operating under its own policies and positions. It acts as a resource to the Department of Education to assist schools with various aspects of meeting the requirements of the mandate to provide Holocaust and genocide education. The commission provides curriculum outlines and suggested activities; identifies and publicizes demonstration sites for other districts to contact; and recommends informational resources and materials for teachers and students to use in the state.

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