GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Religious leaders and local activists gathered early Saturday evening at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to tell the important stories of holocaust survivors.

This was a preview of the curriculum that will soon be taught in schools across the state, following the new law requiring holocaust education in middle and high schools. 

Event organizers said this is important to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

“All of us understand what that level of hatred was and understand how much we have to work now to make sure we never get to that point again,” said Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman of Congregation Bayt Shalom. 

Karz-Wagman adds the new law is being implemented at a critical time.

“The amount of antisemitism is sadly growing in America, particularly violent attacks against Jews,” Karz-Wagman said. “But at the same time in 2023, the amount of people that want to confront and fight and combat antisemitism is also growing, and express a bit of pride in our state that we are one of only 16 that is going to require that our students in middle school and high school learn about the holocaust.”

Lee Holder is one of the writers for the new holocaust history curriculum in the state. He was also the keynote speaker at the event and shared the life of a holocaust survivor that he says played a crucial role in North Carolina’s history. 

“When [Gizella Abramson] moved to North Carolina, she was one of the founding members of the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust,” Holder said. “We are the first state to have a council on the holocaust and she is largely responsible for that.”

Event staff say the annual gathering welcomes people of all religions, sexual preferences, ages, and genders to join, in hopes to unify the community.