New study to assess education about the Holocaust and genocides in the European Union



UNESCO and the European Commission, in partnership with the Georg Eckert Institute in Germany, are launching a new research project to assess education about the Holocaust and other genocides in the European Union.

The study, entitled ’The Holocaust and Genocide in Contemporary Education: Curricula, Textbooks and Pupils’ Perceptions in Comparison’, will offer an analysis of curricula, textbooks and pupils’ perceptions in EU member countries. The project will provide education stakeholders and Holocaust and genocide studies experts with an assessment of representations of the genocide of the Jewish people and of other crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime and its collaborators, while also assessing the understanding of other genocides within educational media. The study of educational directives and materials will provide an international comparison of holocaust and genocide representations and show how these are reflected in classroom teaching and learning processes.

Last generation of witnesses

Focusing on the very continent where the Holocaust took place, the study comes at a turning point, as the last generation of witnesses disappears and as genocides occur in other parts of the world. Education stakeholders, who are committed to ensuring that the Holocaust and genocide are known and understood among European citizens, are faced with new challenges. This assessment of contents and didactical methods will support the development of good practice and policy in the field of curriculum and learning.

The project, run by a research team based at the Georg Eckert Institute, will build on ongoing empirical research in the field of education about the Holocaust and is thus supported by an advisory board including representatives of (Austria), the Centre for Holocaust Education of the London University Institute of Education (United Kingdom), the USC Shoah Foundation (Hungary/United States of America) and the University of South Carolina (United States of America). It is funded by grants provided by the European Union and Austria.

This new study follows another compiled by the Georg Eckert Institute and UNESCO, entitled ’The International Status of Education about the Holocaust’, which was published in 2015. This research provided a global mapping of Holocaust education and analysed its representation in the curricula of 135 countries and textbooks in 26 countries, and provided guidelines on curricula and textbook contents for education policymakers.