Germany is hosting an international educational effort meant to ensure the Holocaust is not forgotten.
The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research – called ITF by its 24 member nations – will house its permanent adminstrative office in Berlin, it was announced in a festive ceremony Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
Partners in this international program pledged to ensure that educational programs meet the challenge of transmitting the facts and lessons about this history to a new generation of youth who will not have the chance to speak with eyewitnesses.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told some 300 guests that Germany’s task, as the land of the perpetrators, was to help ensure “that remembrance not slip further away, not become more abstract or disappear behind the veil of history.”
The ITF was founded in 1998 to promote Holocaust educational programs and memorials throughout Europe and beyond. Since 2002 it has funded 180 projects. The Czech Republic on Wednesday will hand over the rotating presidency to Austria.
Kathrin Meyer, the new director of the administrative office, told JTA that she hoped the ITF in 10 years would be “stronger, with more members, beyond Europe.
”The biggest current challenge is the ‘change of generations.’ I am talking about survivors and rescuers and eyewitnesses,” she said, “but also about the generation of educators, of historians.”
Speakers included Jan Kohout, the ITF president and deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic, and Avner Shalev, the director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.