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

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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Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders
Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experiences Across Borders
Tanya Yilmaz 
Salzburg Global is set to hold its third symposium in its Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention series, in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and supported by the Austrian Future Fund, the Austrian National Fund, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Pratt Foundation.

The session which has been entitled ‘Sharing Experience Across Borders’, will take place June 21 to 26.

Building upon the discussion created at the 2012 symposium, the multi-year initiative hopes to look into the challenges and successes in the teaching and remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides outside of North America and Europe with a particular focus on ways to build awareness about the root causes of the Holocaust and other genocides in countries that are not members of the IHRA.

This year’s symposium will consider how to bring the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations and expand the global network of partners, enabling them to implement activities that spread awareness about the Holocaust, Holocaust education, and genocide prevention, reaching an ever-growing number of young people in ways appropriate to different cultures and countries.

By bringing together educators, civil society leaders, museum directors, policy makers and public officials this summer, the symposium will engage in issues such as whether the lessons from the Holocaust and other genocides serve as a framework to identify pending mass atrocities and how this topic is taught and commemorated in other areas across the globe. Scholars will also attempt to unmask if there are effective strategies to counteract Holocaust and genocide denial and distortion and how we can learn from these events to enable preventive measures in the future.

Previous sessions have focused on ‘The Holocaust: A distinct history, a universal message’ and ‘Learning from the Past: Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education’.

In 2012, the ‘Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education: Trends, Patterns, and Practices’ symposium predominantly focused on how the Holocaust and genocide is taught within the contexts and social understandings of local histories and traditions of not outside of the 31 member states of the IHRA.

The Holocaust Education programs have been running since 2010 and throughout this time participants have not only discussed and shared their own experiences but have also hosted in-depth debates regarding much of the uncovered work that is currently being done to connect teaching about the Holocaust in other parts of the world, including countries such as South Africa, Rwanda, Turkey and China/Hong Kong.

In June, the session will be chaired by Klaus Mueller, European Representative from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, alongside Edward Mortimer, former Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Salzburg Global Seminar.  Sir Andrew Burns, the Chair of IHRA, will be the featured speaker.  
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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Salzburg Global Fellow leads first organized Palestinian visit to Auschwitz
Salzburg Global Fellow leads first organized Palestinian visit to Auschwitz
Alex Jackson 
A program led by Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow, Mohammed S. Dajani, that aims to foster better reconciliation between opposed, oppressed groups, has organized what is believed to be the first visit to a Nazi death camp by Palestinian students. Over the course of several days at the end of March, students from Al-Quds University and Birzeit University learnt of the historical suffering that has heavily influenced the modern consciousness of their regional neighbors. The students also visited Kraków and Oświęcim; their hosts were two Jewish Holocaust survivors to enhance their experience and reinforce the spirit of forgiveness and the need to learn from those who witnessed such atrocities. The visit is part of a wider series of trips in the MENA region, as part of a joint program on Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, German, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.   A week prior to the Auschwitz visit, a group of Israeli students made a similar journey to visit the Dheisheh refugee camp to learn of the Palestinian pain and anguish as a result of displacement during the founding of Israel in 1948. Each group will be monitored closely by PhD psychology students who will hope to determine what effect these sites of historical trauma have upon the visitors, and whether their compassion will go beyond initial reaction to genuine empathy and a willingness to understand their perceived enemies. Whilst this is not the first time that an Israeli group has crossed borders in order to explore and interact with those in camps, the visit to Auschwitz is previously unheard of and brings hope that this will foster a new era of reconciliation and harmony. The program is directed by Mohammed S. Dajani, professor of American Studies at Al-Quds, who has written what he trusts to be the first objective take on the Holocaust available for Palestinian students. Dajani is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, having attended a program on Political Processes as part of the American Studies Center in 1995, and he will return to Salzburg this summer for the latest session in the Salzburg Global Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Initiative on "Sharing Experience Across Borders". “Basically, we want to study how empathy with the Other could help in the process of reconciliation,” Professor Dajani said in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “I feel I would like Palestinians to explore the unexplored, and to meet these challenges where you might find that within their community there will be a lot of pressure on them not to do it or questioning why they are doing it, or that this is propaganda. I feel that’s nonsense.” Professor Dajani, who is a firm believer in the school of thought that we need to learn from our past to prevent making the same mistakes, says that the scheme promises to break through the wall of bigotry that blocks the MENA region, and has led to factions between neighboring countries, and a lack of understanding from youths. “One of my students asked me why we should learn about the Holocaust when the Israelis want to ban even the use of the word ‘Nakba,’” he added. “My response was: ‘Because in doing so, you will be doing the right thing. If they are not doing the right thing, that’s their problem.’” Notable for having been banned from Israel for 25 years, Professor Dajani advocates tackling the issue of conflict in the region head on, by teaching tolerance and calling for compromise. By witnessing the destruction of mankind first hand, the visit to Auschwitz exudes raw emotion and by which he hopes students will look for change. “I was also raised in the culture of denial, so for me, to go and see and look and be on the ground – it was a very sad experience for me. It had a lot of impact,” he admits. “I was shocked about the inhumanity of man to man. How can this happen? Why did it happen? Why would man be this cruel? “It showed me the deep, deep, dark side of human evil.”
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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