Teaching tolerance in the context of Holocaust studies is an important component of building a future in which such events could never happen again. Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a great point of entry to introduce these topics to a younger audience in an educational setting. Here are some key ideas to incorporate into discussions:
• Acknowledge the reality of the Holocaust: It is essential to educate people on the historical facts and the scale of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust. This includes discussing the vast and almost incomprehensible scale of the human toll of the Holocaust as well as its long-lasting impacts on the survivors and their families for generations to come.
• Promote empathy and understanding: One of the most critical aspects of teaching about the Holocaust is understanding what kind of rhetoric and politics allowed for the victimized groups to be marginalized and dehumanized to such a degree as to allow for a genocide to go unopposed for so long. This includes diverse groups such as Jews, Roma and Sinti people, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and political dissidents. It also involves exploring the social, political, and economic factors that led to the rise of Nazi ideology and the events that culminated in the Holocaust.
• Encourage critical thinking and reflection: Teaching about the Holocaust also involves promoting critical thinking and reflection. This includes discussing the role of bystanders and the importance of taking action to prevent future atrocities. It also involves exploring the complexities of issues related to tolerance, such as prejudice, discrimination, and hate speech.
• Focus on positive examples of resistance and resilience: It is important to highlight positive examples of resistance and resilience during the Holocaust, such as the brave individuals who saved countless others through selfless actions or the survivors who rebuilt their lives despite unimaginable trauma. This can help inspire people to stand up against intolerance and hate in their communities.
• Provide opportunities for dialogue and action: Teaching about the Holocaust should include opportunities for dialogue and action. This can consist of creating safe spaces for open discussions, inviting guest speakers or survivors to share their stories, or organizing community service projects that promote tolerance and inclusivity. Individuals can help create a more just and equitable future by taking action.
For more information and materials on visit ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation at https://www.zachorfoundation.org.