During the Second World War, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi government and military systematically targeted, arrested, abused and eliminated people they described as subhuman. At the top of their list were Jewish people. Between Jan. 30, 1933, and May 8, 1945, the Nazis killed about six million Jews in Europe. Every January, the world recognizes International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the Jewish community additionally recognizes Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, each spring, reiterating the phrase “Never Again.”

Alberta’s government is ensuring students learn about the Holocaust and its important historical and contemporary significance throughout their education. Alberta Education will work with partners in the education and Jewish communities to explore where and when this content should be covered.

“I firmly believe we must do everything possible to combat rising antisemitism and educate young Albertans about the horrors of the Holocaust. Ensuring all students learn from one of history’s darkest chapters will help us confront hate and prevent similar atrocities from occurring.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education

“Creating an anti-racist society starts at the school-age level and Holocaust education is an important tool in helping our students learn about the underlying ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping. What is happening in our society today is an important warning around the need to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust, and the consequences of bigotry and hate. We applaud the province for helping to ensure that our youth will not only learn from but keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.”

Adam Silver, CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation

“This announcement comes at a time when antisemitism has spiked across Canada and around the world. It is crucial that the next generations learn about how hate surfaces. Whether it’s distortion of Holocaust history or misinformation about Hamas’s terrorist attacks, both are rooted in antisemitism, and this announcement demonstrates that the Alberta government is dedicated to fight hate in all its forms.”

Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO, Jewish Federation of Edmonton

“We very much appreciate that Premier Smith met us to say her goal is that every student in Alberta has a solid base of knowledge protecting them from Holocaust denial and distortion. Moreover, Minister Nicolaides met with our team discussing best practices across Canada and this announcement of mandatory and robust Holocaust education. We urge all provinces to follow suit.”

Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer, B'nai Brith Canada

“Education is crucial to ensuring our children learn the lessons of the past and are ready to stand up against hate today. Implementing mandatory Holocaust education will create a safer Alberta for all. We want to thank Premier Danielle Smith, Minister Nicolaides and the Alberta government for supporting the Jewish community and fighting antisemitism and hate.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

The Holocaust is currently a mandatory topic in the senior high social studies curriculum and teachers would fully expect it to be incorporated in any forthcoming revision – we welcome consultations on how best to do this. The Holocaust is an event of singular importance in modern history that, sadly, embodies lessons that continue to resonate today. Coming to an understanding of the origins and horror of the Holocaust helps Alberta students to better understand the need to respect, affirm and defend the lives, dignity and rights of all persons and so prepares them to become active citizens participating in Canada’s democratic society.”

Jason Schilling, president, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Alberta Education is in the process of engaging with education partners, curriculum specialists and teachers on the development of new K-12 social studies curriculum. As part of this process, Alberta Education will engage with the Calgary Jewish Federation, Jewish Federation of Edmonton and other Jewish organizations. Feedback from these engagement activities will be used to solidify when and where students learn about the Holocaust in draft social studies curriculum before it is released for further engagement.

Quick facts

  • In current K-12 social studies curriculum, students learn about injustices faced by those who historically were, and continue to be, marginalized, or who have experienced discrimination.
  • In the current Grade 11 curriculum, students analyze ultranationalism as a cause of genocide, including study of the Holocaust.
  • Renewed engagement on the social studies curriculum began in September with education specialists including teachers and those involved in curriculum writing.
  • In early 2024, Alberta Education will begin public engagement with Albertans, where they will have the opportunity to provide feedback on key learnings within the K-12 social studies curriculum and view the draft K-6 social studies curriculum to provide additional feedback.