Holocaust Remembrance Day important more than ever as anti-Semitic incidences on the rise in Wisconsin

NOW: Holocaust Remembrance Day important more than ever as anti-Semitic incidences on the rise in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- On Thursday, April 28, hundreds of families across Milwaukee remembered family members and heroes lost during the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day. With a rise in anti-Semitic incidences over the years, Jewish organizations are tackling the issue with education and said this day is important now more than ever.

The Holocaust was the systematic genocide of several groups of people which killed an estimated six million Jews and many others. The war lasted six years. Jeffrey Gingold, son of a Holocaust survivor, said he remembers the stories his grandfather would share about their lives during the Holocaust.

"Survival was not guaranteed and my grandfather used to say all we can do was plan to live until the end of the day," said Gingold.

Gingold's father and grandparents were in the Warsaw ghetto where they lived for years. Gingold's father was about 7 years old when the war started, and was 13 when it ended.

According to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Milwaukee, anti-Semitic acts have increased by 459% from 2015 to 2021. From 2020 to 2021, anti-Semitism in Wisconsin middle schools and high schools increased by 80%.

"Our local agencies here in Milwaukee Jewish Federation have been collecting studies and we know that anti-Semitism is on the rise and unfortunately those incidences have Holocaust rhetoric attached to it," said Samantha Abramson, executive director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center. 

They're fighting this issue with education. Last year, the Holocaust education bill was passed. It requires Wisconsin middle and high schools to include a Holocaust curriculum in social studies classes.

For Gingold, it's about teaching hope and resilience.

"My father believed that it's important to move forward with hope. Remember the past but you must move forward with hope and run, run to help other people," said Gingold.

That bill will go into effect this fall.

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