The importance of Holocaust education for our generation


photo by Tal Arber

As the Holocaust survivor generation dies out, the need for Holocaust education grows.

Holocaust survivors are dying out. The youngest Holocaust survivors are already in their eighties, and there are not very many left. Our generation is the last who will ever be able to meet a survivor and hear their stories first hand.

Our generation has a huge responsibility to carry on the memories of those in the Holocaust and ensure that it does not repeat itself. If future generations forget about what happened and the memories of those who went through it are not preserved, then something similar might happen again.

We need to be making sure that our whole generation, not just Jews, are educating themselves on the Holocaust. We need to encourage everyone we know to educate themselves by suggesting books written by survivors about their experiences, accompanying others to the Holocaust Museum, participating in programs that aim to spread education about the Holocaust or other means that will provide a factual and quality Holocaust education to others. 

Holocaust education is important now more than ever. We constantly see attacks motivated by racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of hatred. We have seen numerous incidents of people drawing swastikas in schools and other institutions. Amazon just had to pull Holocaust Christmas ornaments due to public pressure, but other Holocaust-themed merchandise still remains on their website still. We cannot forget what the hatred of a race or religion can lead to.

We also owe it to the survivors themselves not to let their stories be forgotten. The Holocaust traumatized all those a part of it and left survivors to struggle with what happened. It is not easy to share a story of something so traumatic, yet survivors still continue to do so. As a society, we must not disrespect the people who had to go through such horrific experiences by forgetting them and their important stories.

Learning about the history of the Holocaust also encourages tolerance. By learning about the history of where different people come from, we promote tolerance of different cultures. The Holocaust is deeply rooted in Jewish culture nowadays, as many Jews are related to a survivor and we annually participate in a day of remembrance. Educating the world about that part of the Jewish culture will increase religious tolerance.

We need to encourage everyone to learn about what happened in order to be able to pass on the stories of the people who went through the Holocaust.