The EIS opposes racism and all forms of prejudice; we want educational establishments to be safe, inclusive environments for all children, young people and staff. Holocaust Education can play an important part in bringing that about.
This briefing paper aims to support EIS members in their provision of Holocaust Education, which the EIS believes should be embedded as a key feature of the Curriculum for Excellence, as one means of delivering the inclusive education system and society we wish to see.
The Holocaust was a genocide which took place during the Second World War, in which Nazi Germany, aided by collaborators, systematically murdered approximately 6 million European Jews and persecuted and murdered other groups, including in particular Roma people, disabled people, and LGBT people. It is the most extensively documented genocide in human history, and it reveals the full range of human behaviour, from appalling acts of hatred, to remarkable acts of extraordinary courage. It raises profound questions about the human condition, making Holocaust Education a rich seam of material for independent enquiry, the examination of moral and human rights issues, and exploration of one of the central aspects of Curriculum for Excellence, i.e. what it means to be a responsible citizen.
Crucially, Holocaust Education (and educating young people about other genocides, including for example the atrocities in Rwanda, Cambodia and Srebrenica) enables learning about racism and fascism and the dangers that each poses to human society. It has the potential to empower young people to use their voice, and have the courage to speak out about prejudice, hate and oppressive behaviour. By learning from the grave wrongs committed against humanity in the past, young people can be equipped to create a more cohesive society in the future.
“Silence helps the oppressors.” — Leslie Meisels, Hungarian Holocaust survivor