“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
This week the ITF is participating in the International Training Team Project in Portugal, Slovenia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The International Training Team Project is a special initiative of the Israeli Chairmanship that funds teams of ITF experts to travel to three ITF-affiliated countries.
The work of the ITF's Memorials and Museums Working Group (MMWG) is focused on forms of cultural remembrance that seek to anchor the Holocaust in the collective memory of contemporary and future societies.
The Historic Sites Questionnaire has been under development by the ITF's Memorials and Museums Working Group (MMWG) since 2008, as a follow-up to the resolution on historic sites adopted by the ITF in Prague in June 2007. The resolution recognized the extraordinary importance of researching and marking for posterity the physical locations where Holocaust-related events occurred. Consequently, ITF Member Countries are encouraged to undertake all possible measures to mark such sites, preserve them, and prevent their misuse. This includes also memorial museums for Nazi-victims which are not located on historical sites. The report entitled Historic Sites Questionnaire of the ITF Memorials and Museums Working Group examines the results of the ITF's Historic Sites Questionnaire within Member Countries and will continue to be updated. The report was compiled by MMWG expert Dr. Thomas Lutz in collaboration with researcher Sophie Perl. The report was released for publication by decision of the ITF Plenary.
First-person survivor testimony has been an integral part of Holocaust education since its inception. We are now faced with the necessity of teaching the Holocaust without survivors and other first-person eyewitnesses, which has already become a reality in many parts of the educational world in most, if not all countries. Fortunately, there are large collections of oral histories that are readily available for classroom use in whole or in part. The ITF's Education Working Group has developed this document in order to assist educators in view of this new reality.
A central question raised by many educators and students is why teach and learn about the Holocaust when other crimes against humanity are perpetrated today? A clear and well-informed understanding of the Holocaust, the paradigmatic genocide, may help educators and students understand other genocides, mass atrocities, and human rights violations. The study of the Holocaust can aide in our obligation to develop a model that highlights the warning signs and predisposing factors for human violence and genocide.