Education about the Holocaust and genocide

© Shoah Memorial
Shoah Memorial

Education can play a key role in preventing genocide by providing a forum to address past violence while promoting the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that can help prevent current day group-targeted violence.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 (2005) and UNESCO General Conference Resolution 34C/61 (2007) on Holocaust Remembrance emphasize the historical significance of the Holocaust and outline the importance of teaching this event as a contribution to the prevention of genocide and atrocity crimes. Other resolutions of the United Nations, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2150 (2014) on “Recommitment to fight against genocide” or Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/28/L.25 (2015) on the prevention of genocide, highlight the importance of education as a means to raise awareness about the causes, dynamics and consequences of atrocity crimes.

Education about the Holocaust and genocide is part of the Organization’s efforts to promote Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a priority of the Education 2030 Agenda. In this context, UNESCO supports education stakeholders in their efforts to help learners become critical thinkers, responsible and active global citizens who value human dignity and respect for all, reject anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of prejudice that can lead to violence and genocide.

Our shared responsibility

Every year around 27 January, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. It was officially proclaimed International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly. The 2019 commemorative theme “Who will write our history” underlines the continued duty to learn about and remember the Holocaust.

The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, but also had universal implications and consequences in many other parts of the world. Member States share a collective responsibility for addressing the residual trauma, maintaining effective remembrance policies, caring for historic sites, and promoting education, documentation and research, seven decades after the genocide. This responsibility entails educating about the causes, consequences and dynamics of such crimes so as to strengthen the resilience of young people against ideologies of hatred.

As genocide and atrocity crimes keep occurring across several regions, and in celebration of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, this has never been so relevant.

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