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civics, tolerance, empathy, Holocaust, field trips, social studies, upstander efficacy


American adults overwhelmingly agree that the Holocaust should be taught in schools, yet few studies investigate the potential benefits of Holocaust education. We evaluate the impact of Holocaust education on several civic outcomes, including “upstander” efficacy (willingness to intervene on behalf of others), likelihood of exercising civil disobedience, empathy for the suffering of others, and tolerance of others with different values and lifestyles. We recruit students from two local high schools and randomize access to the Arkansas Holocaust Education Conference, where students have the chance to hear from a Holocaust survivor and to participate in breakout sessions with leading Holocaust experts. We find that students randomly assigned to attend the conference become more knowledgeable about the Holocaust and are more willing to act as an upstander on behalf of others. In our subgroup analysis, we find that minority students are significantly more willing to act as an upstander relative to their white peers.