• Solly Kaplinski and Gail Asper unveil the plaque at Yad Vashem.

  • Winnipeg Community Solidarity Mission, led by Israel Asper, visits Yad Vashem on the eve of Yom Hashoah, April 8, 2002.

  • Closing Panel Session – International Conference on the Holocaust and Education, June 12-13, 2010 – Chairperson, Moses Levy.

  • Israel Asper launches The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program at Yad Vashem.

“The Asper Foundation is proud to play an integral role in supporting Yad Vashem, a world renowned institution respected not only for commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, but imparting the lessons of the Holocaust and educating people worldwide to help ensure that the rally cry ‘Never Again’ refers not only to Jews but to all peoples.”

Israel Asper

“With this generous gift from The Asper Foundation, Yad Vashem can continue its important task of Holocaust education, especially when the survivor generation is dwindling and the mantle of commemoration is being handed over to the next generations. Dr. Asper has demonstrated the centrality of Israel in the lives of the Jewish people and the importance of Holocaust education as a crucial component of one’s Jewish identity. The importance of this contribution to Yad Vashem cannot be overstated.”

Avner ShalevChairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate

Yad Vashem: The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program

The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies

In April 2002, at the opening session of the International Conference on The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors: The Moral and Ethical Implications for Humanity, The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program was launched at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies. The program is funded by income from a $4 million fund set up by The Asper Foundation which is used for the expansion of programs at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies including: Biannual international conferences, International outreach, professional development and training programs for educators, International seminars for educators from English-speaking countries, and The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (a joint venture between governments and educators dealing with Holocaust denial, racism and xenophobia).

The International School for Holocaust Studies Web site has recently expanded, with several new sites and useful educational material:

New Online Course for Educators: “Life Lessons – Bringing Holocaust History to Your Classroom”

This new online course provides educators with directives in Holocaust history in conjunction with pedagogic tools applicable to the classroom. Participants gain excellent knowledge in the historical aspects of the Holocaust from a multi-disciplinary approach, through use of primary and secondary sources. In sync with Yad Vashem’s educational philosophy, the historical content is explored through examining testimonies, diaries, artwork, literature and photographs, and applying the knowledge to practical educational materials for classroom usage.

Upon completion of the course, participants gain confidence in teaching the Holocaust in their classrooms to a variety of ages through a dynamic series of approaches.

“And Despite it All, I Am Alive” – Educational Journey Beyond the Image

Designed to accompany the newly launched Online Photo Archive, this unique educational site follows the postwar experiences of Holocaust survivors, through use of photographs from Yad Vashem’s archive. These photographs are accompanied by extracts from testimonies and memoirs, and discussion questions for students in the classroom. For the educational website, click here.

New Poetry Teacher’s Guide: “Seven Poems, Seven Paintings – A Teacher’s Guide to Selected Holocaust Poetry”

This unique teacher’s guide is intended for poetry, art and literature teachers interested in a more artistic approach to teaching the Holocaust.

It includes seven Holocaust-related poems, accompanied by original artists’ impressions of these poems. Each poem includes discussion points for the teacher.

International Conference on the Holocaust and Education

In March 2010, the State of Israel assumed the chairmanship of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). As Chair of this unique umbrella organization, including twenty-seven member states and another seven nations who are officially associated with this international body, the Israeli delegation is working in close partnership with decision makers, leading specialists in Holocaust education, and scholars to promote the study of the Shoah and its meaning.

In light of recent debates, reports and statements within ITF circles that have sparked many questions surrounding historical narratives, the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem decided to organize its Seventh International Conference on Holocaust and Education focusing on “Shoah Education and Remembrance in Hindsight and in Foresight: Text and Context,” held on June 12-13, 2010.

This international conference, organized under the auspices of the ITF, was geared for decision makers in the field of education and culture – specifically but not limited to members of ITF delegations – in an effort to gain a deeper perspective on the current challenges of historical memory.

Following the conference, video footage of select presentations was made available on the Yad Vashem website. Recommendations stemming from the conference proceedings will be submitted to the ITF December plenary meetings.

World-renowned scholars, philosophers and leaders were invited to take part in panels and sessions that focused on a number of educational issues, such as:

  • What is our responsibility as policy makers and experts in Holocaust education, remembrance and research to uphold the Stockholm Declaration (2000) ten years later?
  • How do we commemorate and infuse meaning on various days of Holocaust remembrance on the national and international levels, such as January 27, 27th of the Hebrew Month Nissan and others?
  • How do we authorize the teaching about different historical contexts without a competition between the suffering of victims of totalitarianism?
  • How is educating about and remembering the Holocaust relevant to young people today who seek to accurately understand what occurred as well as to take responsibility for the truth about the past?

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