From Overseas Visitors, a Growing Demand to Study the Holocaust
JERUSALEM — The students were spared nothing. There were sessions on Nazi disputes over how to murder the Jews; propaganda art in the Third Reich; encounters with survivors; a history of anti-Semitism; the dilemmas faced by leaders of the Jewish ghetto councils.
It was just what one might expect from a 10-day seminar at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum. The surprise was the students: 35 teachers and professors from Taiwan, none of them specialists in the area, most of whom had never before met a Jew. More surprising still were the lessons some were taking away.
“Before I came, I felt worse about the Holocaust,” said Jen Hsiu-mei, a psychologist and an early childhood educator. “This week, I learned that inside the death camps people helped each other. It gives new meaning to human values. This is not something I expected to learn here — hope.”
Seven decades after the Holocaust, with its survivors rapidly dying, the most systematic slaughter in human history is taking on a growing and often unexpected role in education across the globe. Yad Vashem alone, which opened its international teaching branch only in the 1990s, produces material in more than 20 languages, is active in 55 countries and puts on 70 seminars a year for groups of visiting educators....
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