Universal and Educational Lessons from the Holocaust

Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, © picture alliance / Fotostand | Fotostand / Dostmann

22.01.2021 - Press release

Hybrid Panel Discussion with scholars from Germany, Israel and Singapore to explore the Universal and educational lessons on occasion of the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 Jan 2021, 5pm.

On 27 Jan 2021, 5pm, an educational panel discussion jointly conceived by the embassies of Israel and Germany and hosted by CoHASS, intends to address the lessons learnt from the Holocaust and the relevance of Holocaust education and commemoration in this time and era. The Holocaust continues to raise challenging moral questions and thus the study of it serves as an important tool for humanity - that we continue to draw lessons from it even today, 75 years after the war ended.

Prof. Liow, Dean of CoHASS at NTU and moderator, explains the relevance of the event: “At the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, NTU, we take seriously our duty to instil values of global civic citizenship in all our students. To that end, it is imperative, in our view, that the education experience encompasses efforts to foster deeper understanding of events that have shaped the flow of modern history. The Holocaust is one such event. This tragic episode might seem at first glance to be distant for a young adult studying in Singapore today, but the deep questions surrounding it: why such an event could happen, what its consequences have been, and how to prevent its recurrence, must be reflected upon in order to build a better tomorrow.”

H.E. Sagi Karni, Ambassador of Israel to Singapore, outlines the starting point of the discussion: “The Holocaust is a shared heritage of humanity. It carries a universal message for peace and mutual understanding today. Studying the history of this genocide means taking responsibility for the future. It is a call to protect and promote the dignity of all, and to build true global citizenship. We are grateful to the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore as one of the leading educational institutions in Southeast Asia for providing a venue for this discussion to be shared in the region.”

Dr Norbert Riedel, German Ambassador to Singapore, whose country currently holds the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), adds: “Holocaust education is part of the responsibility that is and will always be of particular significance to Germany as the ‘country of perpetrators’. Taking up this challenging subject in a global context provides a way for all to learn how to welcome difference and diversity on the basis of respect and tolerance. Education about the Holocaust helps young people to understand better how mass violence can be prevented and to reinforce their own role today in deepening mutual understanding and respect in a world changing quickly.”

The Holocaust refers to ‘the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.“ A watershed event in world history, it spanned geographic boundaries, affected all segments of societies, and occurred during the Nazi regime.

The event will also serve as an opportunity to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD) as it marks the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and the end of the Holocaust on 27 January 1945.

Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2021 Time: 5.00pm
Venue: Nanyang Auditorium, 50 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798

Link to recording of Panel Discussion.

Please also note: Film screening by Goethe-Institut Singapore at The Projector Singapore on 30 Jan at 8h30 pm

The Goethe-Institut Singapore will commemorate ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Day’ with the screening of two internationally acclaimed films: Alain Resnais’ historic film ”Night and Fog“ (Nuit et brouillard, FRA 1956) and Christian Petzold’s ”Phoenix“ (GER 2014).

More information on the panelists and the event:

The panel discussion will be moderated by Prof Joseph Liow Chinyong, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University.

Panelist from Singapore: Mr. Bilahari Kausikan, is Chairman of the Middle East Institute and former Ambassador-at-Large and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore. He has previously served in a variety of appointments, including as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He is member of the Advisory Council of the IISS, the think-tank behind the Shangri-La Dialogue as the most important international conference on security issues in Asia.

Panelist from Israel: Dr Eyal Kaminka is the Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem and the Lily Safra Chair of Holocaust Education. He develops educational approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust, trains teachers and other audiences in more than 60 different countries, participates in global forums and works with international organizations (such as IHRA and the UN) and governments bodies worldwide. He served in various roles in both the public and private sectors and shares his extensive experiences as a published author, lecturer, educator, manager and entrepreneur.

Panelist from Germany: Dr Wolf Kaiser, is former Director of the education department of the Memorial and Educational Site ‘Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz’ which teaches about the Holocaust in Berlin at the location where the ”plans for the holocaust“ where decided. Until most recently, he was a member of the German delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. As a senior researcher, he participated in a project on the role of historical sites and museums in Holocaust education and human rights education in the EU. He is Member of the Council of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. He travels and publishes widely about this topic.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) - initiated in 1998 - unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance and to uphold the commitments to the 2000 Stockholm Declaration. Today the IHRA’s membership consists of 34 member countries, each of whom recognizes that international political coordination is imperative to strengthen the moral commitment of societies and to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

The IHRA’s network of trusted experts share their knowledge on early warning signs of present-day genocide and education on the Holocaust. This knowledge supports policymakers and educational multipliers in their efforts to develop effective curricula, and it informs government officials and NGOs active in global initiatives for genocide prevention.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: In 2005, the United Nations designated 27 January -– the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp -- as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.


Further reading:

How does education about the Holocaust advance global citizenship education?


Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center: https://www.yadvashem.org/

House of the Wannsee Conference – A Memorial and Educational Site https://www.ghwk.de/en/

On the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/

IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust:


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