German teachers learning about the Shoah in Israel – An analysis of Holocaust education regarding the impact of generational orientations

Über die Shoah in Israel lernen: eine Analyse von generationalen Orientierungen deutscher Lehrer*innen

The study’s background

Educational programs about the Shoah are mainly directed towards individuals of the third and fourth generations after German Fascism. Today there are fewer opportunities to include contemporary witnesses into the educational programs or to relate directly to participants’ biographical-family references to the period of German Fascism. At the same time, these educational programs operate in a social milieu pervaded by global and social developments and narratives: current armed conflicts, migration movements, new nationalist movements, and various forms of anti-Semitism and racism. Together, these developments justify the need for a continuous updating of both school and extracurricular Shoah education programs.

Research interest and the study’s objectives

The research project explores the practices and perspectives of learners of different generations in the specific educational setting of the International School for Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Established in 1953, Yad Vashem (Hebrew for "monument and name") is Israel's central memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The German Desk works with German-speaking learners of different generations. All 16 German federal states offer their employees (primarily teachers) continuing education opportunities at Yad Vashem, where they learn about the Shoah from a Jewish perspective.

As part of the research project, up to four groups of teachers from Germany will be accompanied on their educational trips to Yad Vashem. The research team will conduct group discussions and ethnographic observations. The following questions represent the central research interests:

  1. How do German teachers learn about the Shoah from a Jewish perspective in a Holocaust education setting in Israel?
  2. What role do specific generational orientations play in learning about the Shoah and how do the participants relate historical events to their perception of the present?
  3. What expectations do the participants have for the seminars and how do they evaluate their educational journey retrospectively, after they have returned to everyday school life in Germany?

Research partner BUW

Bergische Uni Wuppertal Logo


Research partner HUJI

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Funded by

German-Israeli Foundation

Get in touch with the Researchers

Prof. Dr. Helmut Bremer, University of Duisburg-Essen

Prof. Dr. Fabian Kessl, University of Wuppertal

Lance Levenson, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Friederike Lorenz, Free University of Berlin and University of Wuppertal

Dr. Julia Resnik, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Tim Zosel, University of Duisburg-Essen