The Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center on Saturday night honored U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle and Brian Fitzpatrick at its 58th annual dinner and silent auction.
Boyle and Fitzpatrick were recognized for their support of education to teach American people of all ages about the Holocaust.
The museum and education center is inside KleinLife, 10100 Jamison Ave.
Chuck Feldman, president of the museum and education center, emceed the event, at Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, in Elkins Park.
The crowd included 15 Holocaust survivors.
The education center sends survivors to schools to tell students about their experience. Yearly, there are more than 300 such programs, reaching some 39,000 students. There is also a Skype program that brings survivor stories all around the world, as far away as Australia.
Feldman said the outreach is necessary because of anti-Semitic views that have resulted in deadly synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, California.
Feldman thanked Boyle for pushing mandatory Holocaust education in schools while a member of the state House of Representatives.
Boyle joined the HAMEC board while a candidate for the state House, and forged friendships with survivors he met. He said the long lives enjoyed by survivors was the “ultimate victory over Hitler.”
Pennsylvania became the sixth state to require Holocaust education. Today, 12 states have the mandate, with the recent additions of Oregon and Texas, and Boyle said supporters “will not rest until it’s 50 states.”
Boyle was joined by his wife, Jennifer; daughter, Abby; dad, Francis; brother, Kevin, a state representative; and several staff members.
The congressman believes HAMEC’s outreach is as crucial as ever, as survivors age and the potential for Holocaust deniers increases.
“That’s why it’s so important, the work of this museum and education center,” he said.
Feldman thanked Fitzpatrick for working to increase Holocaust education at the federal level.
Fitzpatrick, elected in 2016, noted that he visited Israel in his first term and looks forward to returning.
The congressman also spoke of his support for the Never Again Education Act, which relates to Holocaust education in schools. It would fund teacher training and textbooks and create an advisory board and website, among other things.
“This is a very, very critical piece of legislation,” Fitzpatrick said.
Others in attendance included state Reps. Tom Murt and Ben Sanchez, Common Pleas Court Judge Charlie Ehrlich and Montgomery County Controller Karen Geld Sanchez. ••