Swedish initiative may serve as model for Holocaust education

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (JTA) — In an attempt to ensure that money is not the last word on the Holocaust, an international task force of Holocaust scholars and government officials has launched a new project to promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance. The task force, which includes representatives from the United States, Israel, Sweden, Britain and Germany, met last week at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to discuss education guidelines, progress on archival access and a Swedish education booklet that might be adapted for international use. The meeting came two months prior to an international conference in Washington on Holocaust-era assets, during which the task force intends to highlight its efforts. The Holocaust museum and the U.S. State Department plan to host the gathering of some 40 nations, a follow-up to last year’s London conference on Nazi gold. Stuart Eizenstat, the U.S. undersecretary of state for economic affairs, said the events of the past few years and the focus on attaining financial compensation for Holocaust survivors has underscored the need for an international focus on education. “The last word on the Holocaust should not be money,” Eizenstat, who is heading up the educational effort, said at a news conference prior to the group’s meeting. “The last word on the Holocaust should be an exposition of the truth about its dimensions, about the way in which it occurred, the circumstances that led to it and the lessons we can draw from it.” The idea originated in Sweden, which last year launched its own Holocaust education initiative and began distributing a booklet, titled “Tell Ye Your Children,” in schools and homes. Earlier this year Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson asked President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to join in an international effort to promote Holocaust education. Officials said they plan to use the Swedish booklet as a model that other countries can adapt to suit their own educational needs. The task force is also developing a catalog of Holocaust education, remembrance and research efforts currently under way and working to open up all archives containing information related to the Holocaust. “As we enter the new millennium, we should encourage and reinforce work in many nations to strengthen Holocaust education efforts, to create new ones, and to finally begin such efforts where they have been overlooked,” a draft statement drawn up by the group states. “Through education and remembrance we shall do all we can to ensure that the crimes of the Holocaust are neither forgotten nor repeated.”

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