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OSCE and Yad Vashem Publish Guidelines for Teachers to Commemorate Holocaust Victims

26 January 2006

Marking the first international day for Holocaust remembrance, Yad Vashem and the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) have published guidelines for educators on commemoration for Holocaust Remembrance Days.

The guidelines were developed as a practical tool for educators in order to support their efforts to plan and organize projects or commemorative events in order to ensure that the memory of the victims of the Holocaust will be maintained and continued in the future. The guidelines will be launched on January 27, at a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Holocaust, hosted by the Belgian Chairmanship of the OSCE in Brussels.

“We are very pleased to be a part of this project,” said the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev. “Based on the extensive experience of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in working with teachers, we understand that many of them still lack practical tools and techniques to address the Holocaust in their schools. These guidelines provide a plethora of examples of Holocaust-related commemoration and education projects. Our hope is that they will empower educators to explore this complex and difficult subject matter with their students and in their communities."

The Director of the OSCE/ODIHR, Ambassador Christian Strohal added: “It is vital for OSCE States to provide today's generation with the ability to comprehend the meaning of the total destruction and the unimaginable harm imposed by humans against humanity.”

Currently available in four languages, (English, Russian, French, Flemish) the guidelines will be translated into additional languages over the coming months. They will be available for free, on both the 55-member state OSCE and Yad Vashem websites and in hard copy with an accompanying CD of best practice examples.

The guidelines are part of a larger joint project between the OSCE and Yad Vashem. Additional guidelines for educators on how to combat antisemitism and other forms of intolerance in the schools are currently being developed.

In October 2005 Yad Vashem and ODIHR organized an international expert forum, with the participation of OSCE member states at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. During the meeting, the formulation of the Holocaust Remembrance Day guidelines for educators began. The expert meeting was generously funded by the Asper International Holocaust Studies Program, supported by the Asper Foundation, and developed with the support of the Government of Germany.