‘Holocaust education’ for India to create a just present

‘Holocaust education’ for India to create a just present

Visitors tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on January 26, 2023, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.

Visitors tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on January 26, 2023, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. | | Photo credit: AFP

Six million Jews were murdered in cold blood. This is the worst result of government-backed anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), we remember the victims of unprecedented and systematic killings. It is our responsibility to mourn the dead, and it is our resolve to fight anti-Semitism and hatred.

The need to counter disruptive behavior

Violence and hatred are learned behaviors that disrupt core humanitarian principles of peaceful coexistence and acceptance of differences. The Holocaust stands as a sickening example of the deadly consequences of hate crimes and anti-Semitism going from the frontier to the mainstream. , or is especially dangerous when used to ease anxiety in times of crisis or uncertainty. .

Unfortunately, the world still suffers from inequality, intolerance and injustice in many places. As the evidence shows, many serious economic, cultural, religious and ethnic issues continue to cause division, hate crimes and violence in many parts of the world. The number of anti-Semitic incidents against Jews around the world has increased dramatically. Most of these were incidents of harassment, but hate speech, assaults and anti-Semitic vandalism on social media have also surged in recent years. We have to face the phenomenon.

road of memories

Today, as we mark the International Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust Victims, we remember the systematic murder of six million Jews. The Shoah or Holocaust, in which Jews were systematically targeted simply because they were born Jewish, stands out as a defining moment in history. Education about the Holocaust helps us to understand the processes and factors that lead to the eradication of human rights and democratic values, and to identify situations that may lead to an increase in hate speech, violence and even mass atrocities. It is our duty to remember the past in order to understand the relevance and impact of the Holocaust transcending time and history.

This path of remembrance is a moral obligation for many countries in Europe and around the world. One of the key messages of Holocaust remembrance is caution against dehumanization and discrimination. Instead of erasing the past, we need to educate people so that this deep-rooted history of discrimination does not persist, building resilience to the ideology of hate and awareness of its impact.

We must find ways to talk about the past by using the concept of a “restorative future” to instill a “never forget” commitment and develop the ability among young people to deliver on the “never again” promise. not.

Important UNESCO initiatives such as the International Program on Holocaust and Genocide Education (IPHGE) are steps in the direction of promoting restorative justice. Basics for dealing with future challenges such as critical thinking and empathy by teaching young people that this catastrophe can be viewed as a crossroads in history and recur elsewhere in different forms and forms. It can equip young people with essential skills, values ​​and temperaments. , tolerance and respect for human rights.

For teachers and young people

Embracing this past is equally important for a country that seems untouched by Nazism and anti-Semitism. For Indian academia, it is no surprise that the Holocaust remains a historical event, both geographically and emotionally distant.

At a time when anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, Holocaust denial and distortion are on the rise worldwide, we encourage young people to engage with this history, question the injustices of the past and create a just present. Opportunity must be provided. Similarly, teachers must have the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and deliver Holocaust history lessons that resonate with students in today’s world.

After all, advance warning is advance preparation. As Jean-Paul Sartre very rightly said, an education filled with lessons from the past can prove that individual choice, or lack of choice, can really make a difference.

Naor Gilon is Israeli Ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Philip Ackermann is the German Ambassador to India and Bhutan. Hezekiel Dlamini is a Responsible Officer for UNESCO New Delhi (UNESCO is a member of the United Nations team in India, together helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals).

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