The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry thanked PHA for the books in a Twitter post last month, saying: “These books will be available for educational opportunities about the Holocaust and will be distributed and available in our prison complex libraries across the state.”
The effort was spearheaded by PHA board member Ettie Zilber. She said roughly 650 books were delivered to Arizona prisons on Oct. 18, and she is working on collecting more from donations or local used book stores.
“The response from the public has been fantastic, as 95 percent of the books were donated by interested people,” she said. “Others donated funds with which we purchased additional books. The response from the educators, librarians and administrators in the prisons has also been heartwarming.”
PHA is also working with principals and educators inside the prisons to have Holocaust survivors speak to inmates, added Zilber.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill in August that requires students to learn about the Holocaust and other genocides at least twice between seventh and 12 grades. PHA worked on the bill with educators, Holocaust survivors and the Department of Education.
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