June 2020 – This fall, all students in Oregon public schools will be taught mandatory, age-appropriate Holocaust lessons, due in large part to Lakeridge High School sophomore Claire Sarnowski. As a fourth-grader, Sarnowski first met Alter Wiener when he was giving a talk about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. His story included details of the death of his entire family, his imprisonment in five different concentration camps, and his liberation in 1945 when weighing only 80 pounds.
Sarnowski was so impacted by Wiener’s testimony that she pursued a friendship with the survivor. Five years later, Sarnowski reached out to state senator Rob Wagner (D), in hopes of fulfilling her 92-year-old friend’s lifelong dream of implementing mandatory anti-Semitism curricula in Oregon schools.
Wagner co-sponsored SB 663 requiring state Holocaust learning standards. Sarnowski and Wiener testified in front of the Oregon Senate, and the bill was passed unanimously in March 2019. Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed the bill into law in July, mere months before Wiener’s death in December.
christianheadlines.com, 5/31/19; katu.com, 7/15/19