Holocaust » Overview

Overview

Since 2010, Salzburg Global Seminar has implemented the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Through a series of global and regional gatherings, the Program has engaged participants from more than 40 countries on six continents, the majority of which are non-Western countries, and many of which have a recent experience of mass atrocities. The Program has established a network of individuals and NGOs across these countries, and strives to deepen and extend their collaborative work, allowing practitioners to identify cross-regional strategies to empower institutions and individuals with tools for ethical education and peaceful conflict resolution.

Faced with a rise in violent extremism, policymakers are under pressure to invest in prevention and to show that it works. Structured efforts to reduce extremist mindsets and behaviors have existed for some time, but evidence of effectiveness is often not widely known or utilized. Many interventions require considerable time to affect change, making rigorous measurement of their success over the long-term resource-intensive with sustained political will around an often-unpopular topic. What works? How do we know? And will it work in different geographic, cultural, and political contexts? 

Salzburg Global Seminar’s Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program works across cultures and contexts, including where perceptions and definitions of “extremism” differ widely. The emphasis on grassroots activity within existing institutional budgets anchors projects in their local communities and improves chances for longer-term sustainability. Activities depend on the partners and are demand-driven: the Program provides no financial support to activity implementation, but rather the Program facilitates networks and exchange of experiences across borders to help in-country partners achieve their own institutional mandates, and to help external partners (government, academic, and other interested parties) to have access to practical feedback from on the ground within affected countries and communities.

For detailed information on countries that are not currently part of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), please see: Holocaust Education.

For detailed reports from Salzburg Global Seminar sessions and compiled by Fellows, please see: Salzburg Global Publications

For further Holocaust Education resources from our partner, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, please see: Additional USHMM Resources

 


Updates from the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program

Holocaust Education: The Case of Australia
Holocaust Education: The Case of Australia
Tanya Yilmaz 
Australia is not typically associated to the Holocaust; it is geographically far from both where the systematic decimation of European Jewry took place and the two countries now most commonly associated with the commemoration and memorialization of those lost – Israel and the USA. It is also not a member of the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHRA), which is predominantly made up of European and North American countries.

But actually, as the Salzburg Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention’s publication Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education: Trends, Patterns, and Practices – 2013 outlines, Australia has a surprisingly strong connection with post-Holocaust history.

In 1933, there was a small Jewish community of just 23,000 in Australia, and at the time, the government’s immigration quota restricted the number of immigrants to 5,000 per year during the war – a number which Australia was not keen on increasing at the 1938 Evian Conference, the international consultation meeting devoted to solving the problem of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe.

Whilst speaking at the conference, Australian delegate Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas W. White controversially said: “As we [Australia] have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration.”  

A few months later Australia reassessed its policy to accept 15,000 refugees over three years.

Now, Australia is home to the second largest percentage of Holocaust survivors, and it is estimated that 60,000 pre-war and post-war Holocaust survivors, mostly Jewish refugees, immigrated to the city of Melbourne alone by 1961. Israel is the only country with a larger percentage of Holocaust survivors in their population, currently standing at 150,000.

However despite the significant Jewish population, intolerance of Jewish communities has remained in Australia and the country has seen a recent upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks. In the last year alone there was a rise by 21% and this is the highest level on record, with 657 reports of racist violence against Jewish Australians and Jewish communities between October 2012 and September 2013 compared to 517 reports in 2011 to 2012.

Whilst speaking at the Salzburg Global session on “Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experience Across Borders,” Sir Andrew Burns, Chair of IHRA, addressed the rise of anti-Semitism, acknowledging how such racist agitation can become more acute in times of economic uncertainty.

“Societies need to either remedy the problems of anti-Semitism or be much more forthright about the dangers of arousing hostility and prejudice against different groups,” Burns said in an interview with Salzburg Global. One way to remedy such problems is to ensure future generations are taught about history’s most extreme example of deeply-ingrained and state-sponsored anti-Semitism – the Holocaust.
Debate
In Australia, teaching about the Holocaust was explicitly included in the national curriculum in 2012, and currently, students across the country start to learn about the Holocaust from the age of 14. However, the level of detail regarding the topic can vary immensely from state to state and school to school. Some schools mention the Holocaust as part of an overview in the world history curricula. A more in-depth study of the Holocaust is also available in the German history course offered in grades 11 and 12, age 16 or 17, but this is an optional component. The varying depth of teaching about the Holocaust raises the question about the willingness of teachers to educate students about the Holocaust to a sufficient level.

Discussing teacher training at the Salzburg Global symposium on Holocaust education and genocide prevention, Yotam Weiner, education manager of the Sydney Jewish Museum said the core issue regarding the lack of Holocaust education lies with teachers – if they are disinterested in the topic, then so too will their students be.

“This is one of the challenges for us, to engage with teachers, even though it [Holocaust education] remains optional in their framework, not to treat it as optional,” Weiner explained.

The other aspect of the debate facing Holocaust education is how educators can or should teach through the Holocaust – rather than just generally about the Holocaust.

With its significant Jewish population, the Australian education system has paid close attention to highlighting such intolerance and prejudice as was present in Nazi Germany.

However, Australian education has questionably disengaged its Holocaust education from highlighting failures within their own cultural history – predominantly with the treatment of Aboriginal Australians.

From the emergence of colonization in Australia in 1778, the country tried to maintain racial purity by not only limiting immigration quotas, but also by imposing land ownership laws which drove Aboriginal people from their homelands – many dying from starvation in the process due to prohibited access of food. Many Aboriginal tribes died out completely and were either killed or beaten or contracted diseases by this economic marginalization. Those who survived were forced into slavery and it is unknown how many Aborigines died before 1909.

The situation declined once more for the remaining Aborigines after this time. Between 1909 and 1969, the Australian government forcibly removed over 100,000 children from their families in what was later described as a “resocialization” process – a rationale to, reportedly, protect children from the high levels of alcoholism and drug addiction found in Aboriginal communities. This was landmarked by the term “the Stolen Generation”. It was only in 2008 when the then-newly-appointed prime minister, Kevin Rudd, publically apologized to Aboriginal Australians for the historical treatment of Aboriginal people.

Today, Aboriginal Australians comprise 3% of the Australian population and remain marginalized.

Weiner believes there are clear educational benefits for students in teaching about other human rights violations through the lens of the Holocaust.

“It has the effect of helping students become reflective rather than reactive when they encounter other people.

“We need to teach students about the failures of societal structures and then equip and inspire them to build structures that don’t fail,” Weiner said.

Konrad Kwiet, Pratt Foundation Professor in Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, at University of Sydney, Resident Historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum, and also a speaker at the Salzburg Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention symposium, added that despite the valuable insight gained teaching through the Holocaust, precautions must be taken to ensure that the Holocaust is not overly instrumentalized and subsequently diminished by the teaching of other genocides and humanitarian atrocities.

“You reduce the significance of the Holocaust for Jews and you use the Holocaust for all sorts of issues – which are important  – but in doing so more or less the Holocaust becomes totally instrumentalized, and that is a now major concern which I see,” Kwiet explained. Finding a new audience
Besides these two issues, educators in Australia are also weighing in on the age dispute. To whom should we be teaching Holocaust education and at what age should this teaching start?  Currently, each country has their own answer. In the UK, Holocaust education is introduced to students at age 14, and this is currently the age from which students in Australia are also taught. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has produced guidelines for teaching Holocaust history from the age of 11, utilizing multimedia tools to introduce children to the topic rather than proceed with an in-depth examination.

In Israel, children learn about the Holocaust in 11th and 12th grades, age 16 and 17, and partake in a class trip to a Nazi concentration camp as part of their history and civics classes. However, educators have controversially proposed to start Holocaust education from the age of five – prompting much debate amongst international scholars. The Israeli Education Ministry and the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem have designed the program, which is aimed to serve as “prepatory” Holocaust education, teaching children about the social dynamics which led up to historical event for the ancestors of much of country’s population.

Weiner argues that children at such a young age may not understand the Holocaust’s complexities, and teaching of the subject should not risk raising a generation which is fearful of the powers of humanity.

“What you risk doing is failing in your endeavor because what you will be doing is reveal to students society’s biggest failure, and a huge chasm of human horror – and then just leaving them there. We need to also help them find a way out of that and help them find a way forward, and inspire and equip them to move forward,” Weiner explained.

Kwiet added that Australia must also consider the social and cultural setting in which Holocaust education is taught – a contributing factor to differing audiences due to the multicultural communities in the country.

“You need to know the schools in which you are offering classes and in Australia there is a diversity of schools – there are Jewish day schools, public and private schools, there are schools located in multi-national areas, particularly in Muslim districts,” Kwiet elaborated. Action call
Compared to others countries that are also not directly linked to the Holocaust, Australia arguably has the necessary initiatives in place – and its inclusion of the topic into its national curriculum is somewhat more developed than many other non-IHRA countries. But the issue educators now face is to agree on what to do with the topic which is more substantial than mere lip-service. For example in the state of New South Wales, Holocaust education was mandated in the national curriculum in 2012, but only came into effect in 2014. Like many other schools, the Holocaust is predominantly taught in the world history curricula and teachers have the option of adopting the syllabus in a variety of forms.

But as Weiner argues, this isn't enough: “In New South Wales, you could say it is compulsory but a teacher could get away with just mentioning it [Holocaust] in a sentence, so it isn’t really compulsory,” Weiner said.

Scholars have argued that in order to combat this, Holocaust education in Australia should be interdisciplinary, transcending both cognitive and emotional teaching approaches for an ever-changing – and a disagreed – audience.

Sydney Jewish Museum has sought to aid widespread teaching of the Holocaust by publishing its own training program – Teaching the Holocaust. The curricular source book, written by Sophie Gelski and originally published in 2003, includes an interdisciplinary scope, appropriate for English, geography, history, religious education, society and culture, and visual arts classes.

The materials aim to link the Holocaust to Australian history, noting the “cold and unwelcome” attitudes toward Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Europe while also making reference to the large proportion of Holocaust survivors in Australia today. In order to cater for all students, several versions have been created, one aimed at final year secondary students while another is devoted to younger teenagers.

Australia has seen, and will continue to see, countless debates regarding Holocaust education. Scholars, historians, teachers and policy makers must now mold these debates into a cohesive Holocaust curriculum – one that can be nationally applied yet locally appropriate, with an understanding of the primary audience as well as a clear judgment on whether to teach through or about the Holocaust.
The session "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders" was developed in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with support from the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation. The session was the third symposium in the joint Salzburg Global-USHMM Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. For more information and updates from the session, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/535 and on Twitter with the hashtag #SGShol
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Sir Andrew Burns: "Societies need to be forthright about the dangers of arousing hostility and prejudice"
Sir Andrew Burns: "Societies need to be forthright about the dangers of arousing hostility and prejudice"
Tanya Yilmaz 
Sir Andrew Burns has revealed to Salzburg Global Seminar six-points of recommendation in the teaching of Holocaust education and genocide prevention on an international level. In our latest audio feature, Sir Andrew Burns reaffirms the importance of Holocaust education, particularly in countries that are not part of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Burns is currently the Chair of IHRA for 2014-2015 as well as serving the role of UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues.

He was one of a number of guest speakers during the recent Salzburg Global session on "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experience Across Borders".

As head of the UK’s delegation to IHRA as well as to the International Commission for the International Tracing Service since 2010, Burns lectured at Salzburg Global on the achievements and challenges of Holocaust education and memorial, particularly in countries in IHRA. After his keynote speech, he spoke with Salzburg Global about how he believes society should teach about the Holocaust and how this in turn can help stop future atrocities.
The session "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders" was developed in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with support from the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation. The session was the third symposium in the joint Salzburg Global-USHMM Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. For more information and updates from the session, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/535 and on Twitter with the hashtag #SGShol
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Katlego Bagwasi: “I wanted to be involved in the international dialogue”
Katlego Bagwasi: “I wanted to be involved in the international dialogue”
Tanya Yilmaz 

Rhodes Scholar, Katlego Bagwasi has spoken of how her early notions of international justice led her to mold her career around international law, in an interview with Salzburg Global Seminar.

Bagwasi spoke to Salzburg Global while attending the session, “Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders” which she attended thanks to a grant program for Rhodes Scholars

The Salzburg Global Fellow said: “I wanted to have an input in the way that world politics is shaped, the way international peace translates and in the way wars break out – I wanted to be part of the people who were in the solution for maintaining world peace.”

Bagwasi spoke truthfully when discussing the realities in “realizing the dream of international peace”, arguing that despite the stretch in terms of achievement, international courts play a small, yet meaningful role in getting there.

Originally from Botswana, Bagwasi is currently based at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague, where she works as an intern in the Appeals Chamber, working closely with judges and assisting them in the research of fair judgments and the writings of their decisions.

“I’ve always wanted to get into the international sphere of law and not just be a national practicing lawyer within domestic courts. One of my professors actually worked in the Appeal Chamber at the International Criminal Court and he always encouraged me to further explore international law. So my work at The Hague is essentially being the judge’s think-tank,” explains Bagwasi.

Prior to this, she taught Public International Law in the Law Department at the University of Botswana where she was also the Legal Clinic Coordinator at the university. From 2009 to 2010, she was a practicing attorney at Monthe Marumo & Company.

“Whilst attending university and working, I was becoming more aware of law beyond my domestic court and I developed an interest in international politics and international relations and I really wanted to be involved in the international dialogue.”

As a Rhodes Scholar, Bagwasi was awarded the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford from where she holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“I merely applied for it as a funding opportunity, like any other opportunity to apply for postgraduate studies but when I got the Rhodes Scholarship, I realized how enormous the responsibility is to be a Rhodes Scholar and how significant and life-changing it is.”

The Rhodes Scholarship was established in the honor of Cecil J. Rhodes, and is the oldest, and considered by many, the most prestigious international scholarship program that offers students full financial support in postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

Bagwasi praised the scholarship program for its comprehensive network of scholars and sees this spectrum of international opportunities as a “good safety net”.

“There are so many successful Rhodes Scholars who are literally running the world. My personal favorites are Edwin Cameron, Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; one of my professors is a Rhodes Scholar - Sir Frank Berman and he is the QC in the Essex chambers in London.

“Many are in leadership positions around the globe and 90% of all Rhodes Scholars are success stories in different spheres, so you are tagged to be a ‘world leader’ or to have the potential to be which pushes you to achieve that,” Bagwasi explains.

In 2013, the Rhodes Trust establish a travel grant program so that these “world leaders” could come to Salzburg to take part in Salzburg Global Seminar sessions, further expanding their networks and future potential impact. It was thanks to this program that Bagwasi was able to attend the session on Holocaust education and genocide prevention. 

In terms of the future, Bagwasi is in no shortage of hope when discussing her aspirations to achieve international justice and peace.

“I want to be everything. I want at some point in my life to contribute significantly to civil society whether it be running a successful NGO or internalizing the law and using the law as a tool to make social change and interacting with it practically rather it just be in the court room.”

Discussing Holocaust education at Salzburg Global Seminar, Bagwasi said: “I think the session was very fulfilling in various spheres – the theme was to share experiences on Holocaust education and genocide prevention and I think that we had a varied selection.”

She added: “I think we’ve gone across the world in sharing all these experiences but not only that, we have shared within ourselves, with each other from different spheres and coming together on one topic and I think it was very successful in that respect.”


The session "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders" was developed in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with support from the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation. The session was the third symposium in the joint Salzburg Global-USHMM Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. For more information and updates from the session, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/535 and on Twitter with the hashtag #SGShol

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Fumiko Ishioka: “Holocaust education makes you question how you can become a better person”
Fumiko Ishioka: “Holocaust education makes you question how you can become a better person”
Tanya Yilmaz 
Fumiko Ishioka, the executive director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center owes her dedication to Holocaust education to the discovery of ‘Hana’s Suitcase’, she told Salzburg Global Seminar in an interview.

Ishioka, who was appointed executive director to the center in 1999, spoke while attending the session, “
Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders”.

Salzburg Global Fellow Ishioka said, “Without the story of Hana’s Suitcase, there wouldn’t have been much impact with Holocaust Education in [Japanese] schools, but it has been really effective and well received, not only by children but also teachers.”

Hana’s Suitcase was Ishioka’s first project at the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center – a private, non-profit organization established in 1998 to teach children about the dangers of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination. “The Holocaust Seen Through Children’s Eyes” exhibition became the centerpiece of the center, where Ishioka was loaned several artifacts by Auschwitz Museum – one of which was a suitcase.

“I didn’t find the suitcase, I just asked for any object and Auschwitz Museum just picked up Hana’s suitcase amongst 4000 suitcases.”

Ishioka explained the only information they received alongside the brown and reasonably-well preserved suitcase was that the owner was a young girl called Hana Brady, who was born on May 16, 1931. The artifact was also inscribed with the word “Waisenkind”, German for “orphan”.

“The more children who came to see my center, the more of them asked about its background and they got really interested in learning about the owner of this suitcase and so we ran a search and found out that Hana died at Auschwitz at the age of 13, in fact she died the day she had arrived to the camp in 1944.”

Further analysis of post-war records allowed Ishioka to find out about Hana’s family, which led her to discover that Hana had a brother who survived the Holocaust. In August 2000, Ishioka carefully drafted letter to George Brady detailing how she first came across Hana’s suitcase and how this artefact had a profound effect on the children who visited the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. To her immense gratitude, he replied.

“Since meeting George in January 2001, it has just been an inspiring experience for me,” explains Ishioka. “He is truly my hero. He went through so much tragedy and he has been so generous in sharing his experience with us, so it’s been a really rewarding experience.”

Alongside George Brady and the suitcase, Ishioka travels to schools in South Africa, Mexico, Germany, Czech Republic, Scotland and Canada to educate children, teaching them how to appreciate the differences within ourselves by using the history of the Holocaust as a focal point.

Her dedication to the field led her story to be adapted for an award-winning children’s book, which has been translated into 45 languages, as well as a documentary film, entitled Inside Hana’s Suitcase. As a result of these efforts, she received an honorary Ph.D. in education from York University, Canada in 2006. Ishioka explained that she first became interested in Holocaust education whilst working for a Japanese NGO for international cooperation. She then transferred her interests to the Tokyo Holocaust Education Center.

“In 1997, when I joined the center, our main concern was this increasing violence amongst young children, so we wanted to introduce tolerance education. We also had this problem of bullying at schools and we wanted to give kids the chance to learn to respect each other.

“So in Japan in particular, I think it is important to let children interact with other kids from different religions and cultures,” she explains.

In a panel discussion at Salzburg Global Seminar – "Views from Asia" – Ishioka outlined the current situation in Japan regarding Holocaust education and genocide prevention. She explained that the Japanese understanding of the Holocaust is viewed upon with lack of trivialization into how such atrocities occur.

“Some people can sympathize with Jewish people because of what Japan suffered after the bomb dropping. Some people just don’t want to see anything tragic, and they just want to close their eyes. Whereas others do not want to touch it [topic of Holocaust] at all because it might lead them into a conversation of Japan's own war aggression,” Ishioka said.

She also paid attention towards the idea that discrimination can be man-made and therefore the learning of such topics is vital, particularly in Japan where teachers need to relate this to class discrimination in current situations. 

"We have our own country's history of class discrimination. I also have concern over the fact that many Japanese people don't have favorable feelings toward China due to current political tensions because of the island dispute and the current administration's failure to acknowledge Japan's war-time aggression in Asia, and other issues. So learning about the value of tolerance, acceptance and learning not to label and categorize people through the teaching of the Holocaust, I think, is really urgent for students in Japan. They need to learn about the real dangers of prejudice and discrimination,” she said.
Discussing Holocaust education at the session, Ishioka said: “I believe our project has made a really good introduction for many school children. In the past 10 years we have been able to reach out to over 200,000 kids. We are confident that our programs can educate caring and responsible citizens committed to peace, human rights, and democracy.”

Building from the experiences she had at the session, Ishioka spoke of her optimism that the teaching of Holocaust education is the most significant for the young, although recognizes its importance throughout the education system from middle school to college.

She said: “I definitely believe that educating young children is important because they are full of questions and they are open-minded."

“For me, by learning about the Holocaust, I feel I am always asked what I would do if I faced such intolerance or prejudice. I feel like I am being tested. Holocaust education makes you question how you can become a better person.”
The session "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders" was developed in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with support from the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation. The session was the third symposium in the joint Salzburg Global-USHMM Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. For more information and updates from the session, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/535 and on Twitter with the hashtag #SGShol
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Holocaust Education - Expanding Global Networks
Holocaust Education - Expanding Global Networks
Tanya Yilmaz 
The third symposium in the Salzburg Global Seminar-United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention series launched Saturday, June 21 gathering 48 experts from 30 countries, all working in the profession of Holocaust documentation and remembrance, genocide research and education.  Opening the first session, the Chair of the Initiative, Klaus Mueller, the European Representative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC, outlined the framing of the five-day symposium, looking at how and why the Holocaust - which was largely a European-based event - has become a global reference for many discussions in the 21st century.  This session, entitled “Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experience Across Borders follows on from the 2012 session entitled, “Learning from the Past: Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education”.   Much of the work so far conducted in the field of Holocaust education, Mueller outlined, has invariably focused on the members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which are predominantly based in Europe and North America or have large Jewish populations. Since 2010, Salzburg Global and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have sought to expand this network of Holocaust educators by their joint initiative.  It is to this end that this third symposium features session discussions from countries such as Australia, Rwanda, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa or Cambodia, as well as on the discussion of the Holocaust within the Arab world, helping to create global contexts for the teaching of the Holocaust and other genocides.  Mueller started proceedings by highlighting how the Holocaust increasingly has become a global frame of reference for contemporary genocide, ethnic conflict and human rights violations, and asked the gathered audience of experts, “What is the relevance of Holocaust education in places where the Holocaust did not occur - and does its study help to understand contemporary genocide and serve as a tool for developing prevention strategies?” Emphasizing that “much of the debate over the last decade has investigated whether, and how, we can move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention,” Mueller reminded participants that both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention were adopted in 1948 linking the Holocaust, history and human rights.” He stated that a global conversation on Holocaust and genocide denial and distortion urgently needed to be addressed in this year’s session, and asked participants to help gather country-specific data and case studies on such incidents, as well as generally expanding the joint-Salzburg Global-USHMM collection of country reports on Holocaust education (now available online: holocaust.salzburgglobal.org).   Salzburg Global Senior Program Advisor, Edward Mortimer, was also eager to emphasize how lessons from the Holocaust and other genocides can serve as an educational framework to scholars, researchers, museum directors, public officials and others working in the field, especially in countries outside of the IHRA.   Representing the IHRA at the Salzburg symposium, Sir Andrew Burns, currently serving as Chair of IHRA, spoke in the opening session about the cultural heritage of the Holocaust for many European countries. “We continue to study and teach about the Holocaust and other genocides because its history came out of the well-springs of European society,” said Burns.   In the wake of economic and political instability, much of Europe is seeing a resurgence of anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric; it is imperative that Europe learns from its past so that potential future atrocities can be avoided. Governments have a responsibility to honestly assess their society’s attitudes and stop racist rhetoric before it unfolds into violence, argued Burns.  Gerhard Baumgartner, Scientific Director at the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance also spoke to the visiting participants about how Austria only started to recognize and confront its role in World War Two and the Holocaust in the 1970s and said, “Austria is now very dedicated today to the teaching of Holocaust and discussing its methodologies.”  The five-day symposium is being held at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar. As an Austrian palace built by a Protestant-expelling Catholic Prince-Archbishop and once owned by the exiled Jewish theater director Max Reinhardt before being seized by the local Nazi party, Schloss Leopoldskron also serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when intolerance, ignorance and inaction abound.  
The session "Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders" was developed in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with support from the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation. The session was the third symposium in the joint Salzburg Global-USHMM Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. For more information and updates from the session, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/535 and on Twitter with the hashtag #SGShol
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Kofi A. Annan,  Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1997-2006

Honorary President, Salzburg Initiative on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention

“I am honoured to have been associated with this project since its inception in 2009. Working together, the Seminar and the Museum have brought together scholars, educators and policy makers from different academic disciplines, and from many different parts of the world, to consider how far, and in what ways, education about the Holocaust and other genocides can actually contribute to the prevention of further such tragedies in the future.”

- Kofi Annan