JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev at an international Holocaust education conference addressed the challenges facing today’s educators.
Shavner spoke Tuesday at Israel’s Holocaust center on the opening day of the Eighth International Conference on Holocaust Education. The three-day event, which features the theme “Telling the Story: Teaching the Core,” includes more than 370 educators from 53 countries.
While noting the many important and positive developments in Holocaust commemoration and education, Shalev asked, "How can we properly teach the Shoah in such a fast-moving and dynamic world? And how should we deal with current trends that tend to blur the unique aspects of the Holocaust and create an indistinct understanding of its history?
"We must go back to the core issues of the Shoah: what actually happened in the ghettos, the camps and during the Final Solution; how the Nazi party instituted an atmosphere of hatred and dehumanization; and what were the Jewish and non-Jewish responses to it all," he said. "Only then can we use this knowledge to promote the protection of human rights, the prevention of genocide and the fight against intolerance — all of which are important and relevant topics in today’s world."
The conference focuses on research, trends and approaches to Holocaust studies and education. Educators have come from countries such as Japan, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany, Poland, India, the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China, Great Britain and Turkey.