Holocaust remembrance: Education unions come together for Auschwitz memorial ceremony and Holocaust education conference

published 27 January 2020 updated 6 February 2020

Education International member organisations from 17 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa are in Poland this week for the official ceremony marking 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The ceremony will be followed by a conference on Holocaust education organised by unions from Germany, Israel, and Poland.

One of the most infamous Nazi concentration and extermination camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated on 27 January 1945. Of the at least 1.3 million people who were imprisoned here, 1.1 million Jews, Poles, Romani, Russians and prisoners of other nationalities were murdered by the Nazi regime. Educators from around the world are determined to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

Hosted by Poland’s ZNP, the Holocaust education conference is the latest event in a long-standing partnership between education unions in Germany, Israel, and Poland, whose members have been meeting regularly for the past 50 years to explore the best ways to combat antisemitism, racism and xenophobia and promote peaceful coexistence.

During the four-day event, educators will have the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz museum, attend the commemoration ceremony and then come together to exchange best practices and innovative ideas for teaching the Holocaust to new generations. Museum educators, scientists and artists will provide insights into better understanding and commemorating the Holocaust while Matjaž Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation of the Council of Europe, will bring an institutional perspective to the table.

Attending the remembrance ceremony and the conference, David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, stated: “At a time when the far right, antisemitism, racism and discrimination of all kinds are surging across the world, when attacks on basic democratic values and human rights have become commonplace, it is heartening to witness the undaunted spirit of educators in Poland, Israel and Germany working together to bring the lessons of the Holocaust to classrooms in Europe and beyond. Colleagues from four continents have made the long journey to Krakow to share ideas, encourage and inspire each other so that new generations never forget and never repeat the mistakes of the past.”