Holocaust educators stressed the importance of speaking about the Shoah as a
means of ensuring that such a tragedy never happens again, at an international
conference on Holocaust education that kicked off Tuesday morning at the Western
Galilee’s Ghetto Fighters House Museum.
“Remembering the Holocaust
imposes on us a greater duty than ever before for moral awareness, precisely
because we know of the potential existence of radical evil in every human
society,” said Raya Kalisman, director of the Center for Humanistic Education,
quoting historian Saul Friedlander.
She explained that the phrase
effectively summed up the mission of her center, which initiated the three-day
forum and has been functioning within the museum for 18 years.
conference, entitled “Holocaust Education for Democratic Values,” aims at
opening a discussion on how to teach the topic to students, but also on the
links between Holocaust education and democratic education.
subjects that came up at the event were the use of analogies in teaching the
Holocaust and the use of Holocaust imagery in visual arts.
were Israeli scholars and education professionals, as well as academics from
various foreign countries.
“Democracy is what can protect us from such
tragedies,” emphasized Kalisman.
“Learning about it awakens us to the
other’s needs. Ignoring the other’s suffering is in fact the greatest danger to
“It will always be important to speak about the Holocaust,”
said Paul Salmons, head of the Holocaust Education Development program at the
University of London’s Institute of Education.
“The issues that the
Holocaust raises are very present and relevant in the lives of young people in
the United Kingdom,” he added, explaining that his program aims to guide
teachers across the UK on the topic.
Dr. Martin Salm, chairman of the
Remembrance, Responsibility and Future foundation in Berlin, which funded the
conference, said, “We believe it’s necessary that the young generation maintains
awareness about the Holocaust, but we also believe that it’s got to be taught in
a way that something that happened 60-70 years ago still touches
His foundation’s mandate, he said, was “to transmit lessons
learned from that particular history to the youngsters.”
director, Dr. Anat Livne, released a statement saying that the conference’s goal
was “to shed some light on the education system in dealing with one of the most
important aspects of our complex society.”
“We believe that understanding
the connection between the study of the Holocaust and education for democracy
can strengthen values that contribute to the existence of a good and just
society,” she said.
The summit, which is open to the public, ends on