Learning about the Shoah in Israel
German teachers and students 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 und Schüler*innen
- Funded by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF)
- Cooperation with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Dr. Julia Resnik, Lance Levenson) and the University of Wuppertal (Prof. Dr. Fabian Kessl, Friederike Lorenz)
- Duration of the project: 01.07.2018 to 31.12.2020
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 three groups of teachers and two groups of students 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:
- How do German teachers and students learn about the Shoah from a Jewish perspective in a Holocaust education setting in Israel?
- 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?
- 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?