First-person survivor testimony has been an integral part of Holocaust education since its inception. We are now faced with the necessity of teaching the Holocaust without survivors and other first-person eyewitnesses, which has already become a reality in many parts of the educational world in most, if not all countries. Fortunately, there are large collections of oral histories that are readily available for classroom use in whole or in part. The ITF's Education Working Group has developed this document in order to assist educators in view of this new reality. The document was released for publication by decision of the ITF Plenary in December 2010.
French Version: FAIRE CONNAÎTRE L’HOLOCAUSTE SANS SURVIVANTS
Dutch Version: Lesgeven over de Holocaust zonder bijdrage van overlevenden
A central question raised by many educators and students is why teach and learn about the Holocaust when other crimes against humanity are perpetrated today? A clear and well-informed understanding of the Holocaust, the paradigmatic genocide, may help educators and students understand other genocides, mass atrocities, and human rights violations. The study of the Holocaust can aide in our obligation to develop a model that highlights the warning signs and predisposing factors for human violence and genocide. In this series of documents, the ITF's Education Working Group offers ideas and recommendations to educators who wish to teach about the Holocaust and its relationship to other genocides and crimes against humanity. The documents were released for publication by decision of the ITF Plenary in December 2010.
French Version: HOLOCAUSTE, GÉNOCIDE ET CRIMES CONTRE L’HUMANITÉ
Dutch Version: Lesgeven over de Holocaust en andere genocides
Croatian Version: Holokaust i drugi genocidi
In connection with this release, the 2010 Chair's Project explored the topic of how to teach about the Holocaust in relation to other genocides in an interactive module designed for experts as well as educators and students.
Guidelines for Teachers
The Education Working Group (EWG) was founded towards the end of the German Chairmanship in early 2001, and its first meeting was convened during the Chairmanship of the Netherlands in May 2001 in Amsterdam.
The first meeting of the EWG outside of the ITF plenary was in Jerusalem at the Yad Vashem Institute, September 11-13th, 2001. Nine countries sent representatives: Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The first meeting was devoted to establishing the goals of the working group and delineating guidelines for its operation and for Holocaust education in general. The EWG developed a rationale and decided to establish five sets of guidelines:
1) Why teach about the Holocaust?
2) What to teach about the Holocaust?
3) How to teach about the Holocaust?
4) Guidelines on Visiting Holocaust-Related Sites
5) Preparing Holocaust Memorial days: suggestions for educators
These guidelines were completed over the course of the next several years and are recommended for use in teacher training courses in member countries and beyond. All available translations can be found on the Task Force website.
Another function of the EWG is to evaluate project applications for ITF funding in the area of Holocaust education. Although the prime area for funding has been teacher training, the EWG has also recommended funding for a variety of Holocaust education projects, including student projects. The guidelines of the EWG are the basis for evaluating these proposals. In 2008, the EWG introduced a 'sunset rule' which limits the funding for any particular project to four years. This is to encourage project proposers to seek alternative sources for funds after the seed money provided by the EWG is no longer available. Given the limited amount of funds available in any given year, this enables the EWG to support new projects.
The EWG is composed of a maximum of two people from each member country. As the number of countries in the ITF has grown, this has necessitated a change in the manner of operation of the EWG. Project applications are reviewed by reviewing sub-committees which each have three members. Major topics that need an intense exchange of ideas are discussed in these sub-committees which then report back to the entire EWG. At present there are three working sub-committees in the EWG: roma genocide sub-committee, special challenges sub-committee, the Holocaust and other genocides sub-committee.
The EWG's work is ongoing throughout the year and also meets outside of the regular ITF meeting schedule. During those meetings, committee members may visit Holocaust sites and institutions where projects have been funded. The first of such meetings took place in Budapest (2003) and have since then been held in Vilnius (2006), Zagreb (2007), Paris (2008), and Bratislava (2009.) A meeting in Jerusalem is planned in 2010.
As the Task Force expands in size and in scope, the work of the EWG increases enormously. The major challenges it faces are to expand Holocaust education and prioritise the projects it funds.