In a recent New York Times article entitled, In Germany, Confronting Shameful Legacy Is Essential Part of Police Training, the authors presented how Germany today ensures that its police force cannot be used to once again oppress, arrest and murder an entire segment of the society, as it did to the Jews during World War II and the Holocaust.
For years, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, has been developing educational programs in many languages including German especially geared to educate police cadets and officers about the history of the Holocaust and the horrific part German police played in the oppression and annihilation of the Jews of Europe. Through these training courses and programs, Yad Vashem has become a crucial partner in efforts to ensure that police is solely used to protect and not persecute.
Yad Vashem has agreements with three different German interior ministries (North Rhein-Westphalia; Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen) and educates police cadets and officers about both their shameful history and current responsibility. In fact, it has been working with German police in NRW for some 15 years. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Yad Vashem was expecting to train four more groups of German police in 2020.
In the light of police officers in Germany having to contend with violent acts of racism and antisemitism in their communities, the Yad Vashem seminars also include lectures contemporary forms of antisemitism. With the rise in antisemitism and other forms of hatred in recent months, training law enforcement in Germany has never been more relevant.