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Canary in the Mine

Boy fleeing Warsaw with bird in cage, 1939 (Photo: wikicommons/Julien Bryan)

It has been seven decades since one of the darkest chapters in Jewish (and world) history was perpetrated. But given the ongoing surge in worldwide anti-Semitism, it would seem the world learned nothing from the Holocaust. JNS' Deborah Fineblum writes that Yad Vashem — Israel's official Holocaust memorial — is working to remedy this international ignorance by educating the generations of today and tomorrow about the past:

It’s American teachers like Lori Fulton who, with their commitment to Holocaust education, are poised to be potent forces for holding back the current tidal wave of anti-Semitism for the next generation.

Many of the tools for empowering Fulton and thousands of other teachers in striving to accomplish this Herculean task come from a hillside in Jerusalem, thousands of miles from her classroom in Mattawan, Mich.

Fulton, a high school English teacher who discovered the Holocaust as a teen when she happened upon The Diary of Anne Frank in her local library, spent two weeks last summer at Yad Vashem: the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. That’s where, together with dozens of other teachers, she learned how to bring these terror-filled years alive for her students.

“I thought I knew about the Holocaust, but I realized I was missing something,” she says. “Sure, we can read Wiesel’s Night and watch ‘The Pianist,’ but only when you have the human stories—what it was really like to live through that hell—does everything change.”

Not only does Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies host 7,000 teachers annually in its Jerusalem center, but its programs train thousands more in 50 countries. And it provides a full menu of online teacher resources, including survivor testimonies, photos, rare film footage and lesson plans in 20 languages, destined for classrooms around the globe, in addition to resources for adults...

Tags: Holocaust , Anti-Semitism

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