IOE Centre for Holocaust Education News
In a media-driven world where hardly a day goes by without some reference to Hitler, Auschwitz or the Nazis it may seem perverse to worry about how secure is the memory of the Holocaust. But as schools across the country mark Holocaust Memorial Day (officially January 27) what is at stake is not whether we choose to remember but what form that memory takes and how far we are prepared to confront this traumatic past and seek to understand it.
The very fact of a national Holocaust Memorial Day is itself remarkable: mass murder has been present throughout the long history of humanity but rarely has such atrocity become part of the stories we tell about ourselves. Rather, the story of genocide has been a history of forgetting. For centuries communities have written out of the record their acts of mass murder. And today, even as we commemorate the Holocaust, it may be that we avoid its most difficult and challenging questions.
The Holocaust is in danger of being distilled into a moral fable for our times: a story of evil, racist killers, a few heroic rescuers, and a mass of apathetic, morally weak bystanders. It is a very serviceable past with a simple lesson – “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”. But the past is only so serviceable when it is simplified to the point of distortion, and we do young people a disservice to present it as such.
The IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education supports teachers across the country, through professional development programmes and practical classroom materials, as they move beyond easy moral lessons and help their pupils to explore the Holocaust in far more depth. Closer examination of the historical record allows more nuanced understandings of people’s behaviour, motivation and intent; the picture of the past then revealed is far more complex, far more unsettling and far more meaningful than anticipated.
Pupils discover there is no record of anyone being killed or sent to a concentration camp for refusing to murder Jews, while there are records of people refusing the order to murder who were simply given other duties. So how do we explain the thousands of so-called “ordinary people” who murdered? While extreme antisemitic ideology can explain some of the killers, others participated in mass shootings because of peer pressure, ambition, or a warped sense of ‘duty’.
And the killers were not limited to fanatical young men in SS uniforms. In a picturesque Austrian town, local women, elderly men and teenage boys joined in the hunt for escaped Soviet prisoners of war and murdered them. In a village in Burgenland, local people deported the family of their Roma (Gypsy) blacksmith but kept the blacksmith himself rather than losing his skills. What can we say about whole communities becoming part of persecution and mass murder?
When pupils do research into those who saved Jews, they find no template for the type of person who became a rescuer – no common denominator of age, gender, religious belief, nationality, social class, or political outlook. Indeed, there were even antisemites who risked their lives to save Jews, while others with more enlightened, liberal and tolerant views did nothing to help. The only thing many rescuers tend to share appears to be a certain unorthodoxy and non-conformity. So what model do the rescuers give us, exactly, and what are the implications for our education system, presently so focused on examinations and in socialising young people to take their place in the corporate world?
And who can truly said to be a “bystander” when everywhere ordinary people enriched themselves at public auctions, buying the possessions of their deported neighbours? Where then is the line between collaborator and bystander? Greed and self-interest are also a part of this story, and when examined the past reveals a shocking truth: you do not need to hate anyone to become complicit in genocide.
Essentially the moral lessons that the Holocaust is so often used to teach reflect much the same values taught in schools before the Second World War. And yet – in themselves – these values were evidently insufficient to prevent the genocide. Notions of tolerance and of human rights have been advocated since the Enlightenment; belief in the intrinsic value of human life; the “golden rule” of treating others as you would have them treat you; ideas of kindness, courage, charity and goodwill to those in need are all part of the ethical and moral teaching that have underpinned the values of Western society for centuries. And yet it was from that same society that the Holocaust sprang. What are the deeper flaws in our so-called ‘civilisation’ that allowed Europe to descend so completely into genocide, and what are we doing today to examine them?
The IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education supports teachers across the country in trying to meet this challenge, in helping young people to reflect on why and how – not long ago and not far from where they live – everywhere across Europe people became complicit in the murder of their Jewish neighbours. The questions are challenging, unsettling and disorienting, but they are also vital. Because the danger is that unless commemoration is accompanied by detailed study and depth of understanding then the old myths and misconceptions will continue, and the memory of the Holocaust will remain shallow and insecure.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Huffington Post
To watch a UNESCO film interview with Paul Salmons visit http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/
The Institute of Education (IOE) is pleased to announce the awarding of centre status to the newly renamed Centre for Holocaust Education (formerly known as the Holocaust Education Development Programme). Centre status is conferred by the University of London Senate and in doing so recognises the distinctive contribution of the work undertaken by the IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education (CfHE) as it enters a new three year phase of development. This has also been marked by renewed and extended funding from Pears Foundation and the Department for Education.
In conferring the title of Centre for Holocaust Education the senate has recognised the distinctive nature of the IOE’s Holocaust education programmes and research as well as the activity that has been undertaken in its first three years of existence. During its first phase large scale national research into approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust across England was undertaken. As a result of the research findings a range of teacher development programmes have been created with more than 2,500 teachers having benefitted from the IOE’s groundbreaking Holocaust education programmes.
An official launch of the Centre will follow in the coming months.
Director of the Institute of Education, Professor Chris Husbands said: “The IOE is committed to excellence in teaching and learning about the Holocaust and I am very proud that we provide a national programme that is at the leading edge of its field, and has been recognised as worthy of centre status.”
Director of the IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education, Professor Stuart Foster said: “The conferring of centre status recognises the vital importance of our work, the only programme globally that brings together research, scholarship and classroom practice in the field of Holocaust education. We are delighted to be entering a new phase of our work as the IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education.”
We are now accepting registrations for our CPD dates for the Spring term (2013). The team here at the IOE’s Centre for Holocaust Education will be travelling to venues across England to deliver our programme and next term will see us in London, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield.
If you are a teacher and would like to register please visit: http://www.hedp.org.uk/secure/user_create.asp
Just a reminder that:
· the programme is totally free for teachers in England (and open to more than one teacher from each school)
· we use conference facilities in the centre of towns and cities, and provide lunch and refreshments throughout the day
· from our CPD you can progress to an IOE MA module in Holocaust education – for free
· we are the only research informed Holocaust education teacher CPD programme in the world
Making Connections in Holocaust Education: Scholarship, Research and Educational Practice.
A Symposium - 20 January 2010.
This event was organised by the Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education (formerly the Holocaust Education Development Programme - HEDP) and sponsored by Pears Foundation.
HDMT are inviting teachers to join them in an advisory capacity to review their educational materials and resources. These resources are produced yearly and the theme for 2013 is Communities Together: Build a Bridge.
The UK government has presented a detailed Country Report on the state of Holocaust education to the International Holocaust Remembrance Organization, correcting myths and clarifying the key issues and challenges in teaching and learning about the Holocaust in our schools.
It was able to do so because of the groundbreaking research of the IOE into Holocaust education in England's secondary schools, and due to the input of a number of other institutions working in the field.
The Report was introduced by Sir Andrew Burns, the government's Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and was presented by Paul Salmons, of the IOE's Holocaust education team. Download the Report and its appendices (1 and 2, 3 and 4) for a survey of the current state of Holocaust education in the United Kingdom.
Members of the IOE's Holocaust education team were invited by the Historical Association to co-edit a special edition of their prestigious journal Teaching History. A range of articles from teachers and educators explore key themes and issues in teaching about the Holocaust to secondary school students. This edition is now available to download.
A new series of papers for secondary school teachers, suggesting ways to relate the Holocaust to other genocides and Crimes Against Humanity, has been produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research and is now available to download.
An impressive new website for secondary school students, The Holocaust Explained www.theholocaustexplained.org has been created by the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC).
The paper below was produced by Ben Rich Associates on behalf of Pears Foundation to outline Holocaust education taking place in the UK.
25-26 October 2010, Emma O’Brien spoke at 2-day conference for teachers, educators and academics at Imperial War Museum North, Manchester.
At the recent Midland's History Forum, held at the University of Birmingham, Kay Andrews ran a workshop for teachers entitled 'Jewish life before the war - Ensuring Holocaust education has a context'. Kay worked with 20 teachers using materials developed by the Institute of Education in conjunction with Teachers' TV.
During the annual Holocaust Memorial Week in Montreal Kay Andrews presented a lecture entitled 'Teaching about the Holocaust in English Schools'. This event was hosted by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and partnered by the Centre d'études ethniques des universités montréalaises (CEETUM). The lecture was well received with many interesting questions being raised.
Kay also ran a CPD workshop for Canadian teachers organised by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and McGill University Faculty of Education. The workshop focused on the Institute of Education approaches to Holocaust education and introduced teachers to a number of online resources.
In October Kay Andrews worked with 20 participants preparing for a visit to Poland with the Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland. The two hour session, held at Trinity College Dublin focused on the issues of visiting Holocaust related sites in Europe.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 takes place next week and this year the theme is Untold Stories. A new book had been published by Faith Matters that is highly appropriate for this focus. Entitled 'The Role of Righteous Muslims' and edited by Fiyaz Mugal OBE and Esmond Rosen, the book reveals a large number of stories of Arabs and Muslims who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Very little is in the public domain regarding these examples of human altruism and therefore this publication is an extremely valuable resource for education. Access to the publication can be gained through contacting Faith Matters:
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI,
Founder and Director - Faith Matters,
Fourth Floor, Hamilton House,
Mabledon Place, Bloomsbury,
London, WC1H 9BB
Mobile: 0793 960 9481
SHP Conference - July 2010
Paul Salmons will be giving a key note address to teachers at the 2010 School's History Project Conference in Leeds, 3-5 July. The HEDP's Head of Curriculum and Development will be speaking on 'The Struggle for Memory: The Holocaust in History and History in the Curriculum'. For further details about the programme, including the wide range of exciting workshops please visit www.schoolshistoryproject.org.uk/conference or click on the attached flier.
USC Shoah Foundation - May 2010
A workshop at the Central European University organised by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute
A New Generation of Learning: Holocaust Education and the Internet
Kay Andrews represented the HEDP at a recent workshop convened by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute (SFI) and held at the CEU in Budapest. The workshop brought together SFI partners from across Europe, including those working in the Ukraine, Slovakia, France and Poland. Issues discussed included Holocaust denial on the internet, as well as how young people engage with the new media of web 2.0 and 3.0. Kay gave two presentations, the first introduced the work of the HEDP and the role of the internet, the second focused specifically on a new learning tool being developed by the HEDP for use by Year 9 students. Feedback on this new learning tool was tremendously positive with colleagues from across Europe keen to hear more of its future developments. The workshop also gave participants the opportunity to try the SFIs new online learning resource Iwitness.
HEDP and Conference on Jewish Education – April 2010
On Thursday 29th April 2010, Amy Philip (The Pears Foundation), Alice Pettigrew and Ruth-Anne Lenga (HEDP) present the findings of the HEDP research to delegates at a conference on 'Research in Jewish Education'. The session raises questions and issues that relate to the teaching of the Holocaust within Jewish educational contexts. The event is organised by the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA).
TES Education north – April 2010
On Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th April the HEDP had a stand at the TES Education north event held in Manchester. The show, which attracts teachers from across the UK, gave HEDP staff the opportunity to meet many teachers, to hear about their CPD needs in Holocaust Education and to recruit them for the national HEDP CPD.
London Jewish Cultural Centre – March 2010
On 11th March HEDP staff presented their work to the Holocaust survivor group at the London Jewish Cultural Centre. Paul Salmons and Kay Andrews were able to share the findings of the HEDP research report as well as providing details of the CPD programme. The presentation was well received and gave survivors the chance to raise questions about the future of Holocaust education.
Teachers’ TV – March 2010
TES Education Show in London - October 2010
On Friday & Saturday 1 - 2 October 2010 in the National Hall, Olympia we participated in the TES Education show. Thank you to all of you we met there and we look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming CPD programmes across the country.
Book Launch - October 2010
Nearly 70 people attended the IOE for the launch of a new book Polish Testimonies of the Shoah. HEDP Director Stuart Foster welcomed the gathering which consisted of academics, teachers, teachers in training and a large number of Holocaust survivors. Marian Turski who conceived the book and Ben Helfgott who championed the book and ensured that it was translated into English spoke of the significance of the testimonies brought into the open in this publication. The raw and candid eye witness accounts speak of many dilemmas and agonising choices that arose during the Nazi ghettoisation of the Jews of Warsaw. In some cases Poles risked their lives in an attempt to help Jews while other testimonies speak of the opportunity to act that they passed by and the life sentence of guilt that has clouded their lives ever since. Other contributors simply recalled what they saw. Marian Turski now in his 80s spoke of how the book came in to being and thanked those who sponsored the project. Finally Alice Miller a teacher from Hendon School London read out a powerful extract from the book and spoke of the challenge facing teachers of the Holocaust. Alice endorsed the value of the book in order that students come to a more complex understanding of the Holocaust and they can grapple with the issue of meaning. The event was jointly organised by IOE, Vallentine Mitchell and The Polish Institute of Holocaust Studies with support from the ‘45 Aid Society. For copies please contact Vallentine Mitchell publishers at:
29/45 High Street
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8952 9526
Congratulations from HEDP team
HEDP would like to extend congratulations and good wishes to Holocaust survivors Ben Helfgott, Jack Kagan and Josef Perl on their recent 80th birthdays.
At the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for International Co-operation in Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research meeting held in Oslo
The Holocaust Development Programme (HEDP) has just launched its ground-breaking research, the first of its kind in England in both scope and scale.
The HEDP is assisting in the development of the IWM Fellowship in Holocaust Education
Liverpool Hope Univeristy held their annual Religious Education conference.
At the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's 'Looking at History:
Incorporating Video Testimony across the Curriculum', in Berlin.
Kay Andrews represented the HEDP at a meeting of Holocaust experts from around the globe.
The Association of Holocaust Organisations held their annual conference in Orange County California
Ruth-Anne Lenga, Special Advisor to the HEDP, gave a talk on Women's Resistance during the Holocaust at the Womens Action for Social Change Conference at the TUC Conference Centre, London.
The HEDP was featured on Israeli national radio station.
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