Holocaust education and combatting prejudice

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January (the date in 1945 that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops), is a memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust.

Education on the Holocaust is a compulsory part of the history curriculum in England and there are many educational trusts that do important work teaching keys issues that can be learned about the Holocaust. One such organization is the Anne Frank Educational Trust UK, for which the Special Collections at the University of Southampton holds archives (MS 266).

Letter writing competition, 1994, of letters from school children to Anne Frank: MS 266 A896

Letter writing competition, 1994, of letters from school children to Anne Frank: MS 266 A896

The name of Anne Frank still continues to resonate as a symbol of peace with children across the world and the Educational Trust uses her diaries as a means of challenging prejudice and reducing hatred.

In 1993, during the Bosnian conflict, a letter, translated by their teacher, was sent from pupils of the Os Ivan Goran School, Zenica, 50 kilometres from Sarajevo, to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

“We wait spring… war is here. We wait peace…. Nobody hear us, we are an corner of world. All year we hope…. Our teacher… told us about Anne Frank and her hiding and her life… Our youth is very similar. After fifty years history repetition again in Bosnia – war, hate killing, hiding displacements…

We wait spring… we wait peace, like Anne Frank fifty years before. She didn’t live to see peace, but we…?”

This letter led to an Anne Frank Educational Trust UK Children to Children Appeal Bosnia in conjunction with People newspaper and GMTV. With the aim to encourage British children to send message of support and goodwill to children in Bosnia, the campaign elicited a positive response from schools across the UK, with children learning Serbo-Croat phrases to include in their letters.

The Anne Frank Educational Trust UK currently engages with over 30,000 school children each year as part of their educational programme, as well as running writing competitions and other events enabling these children to learn about aspects of human rights and respect for others.

Southampton will be marking the UK’s national Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) with a commemorative event organised by Southampton Solent University and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton. For further details see:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/parkes/news/events/2016/01/27-hmd.page

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