UNESCO-supported Indonesian conference on education about the Holocaust attracts wide interest

29 October 2018

With the support of UNESCO and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a team of Indonesian educators organized on 6 October 2018 a public seminar on the “Holocaust, Genocide and Contemporary Challenges,” followed by a private teachers’ workshop at the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (PUSDEMA), Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta.

More than 160 people, including witnesses of the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia, educators, university students and academics, attended the event. The morning session featured a discussion about the key findings of the book “Holocaust and Modernity: In the Shadows of Auschwitz” in presence of the author Dr Antarini Arna, Prof. Dr. A Sudiarja and Dr. Yoseph Yapi Taum from Sanata Dharma University.

 “We needed a lot of extra chairs to accommodate everybody,” said Baskara T. Wardaya, director of PUSDEMA and team member of the Indonesian project team. “There was an immense interest in the topic, which was new to many in the audience.”

The seminar also included a video message by Holocaust survivor Alfred Munzer, recorded by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Munzer survived the Holocaust in the Netherlands as a hidden child, protected by an Indonesian family. He addressed the audience and thanked them for their interest to learn and teach about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and their commitment to prevent future genocide.

The public seminar was followed by a private workshop for 30 high school teachers and students in the afternoon. It was the second time the Indonesian project team organized such a workshop. “This second workshop allowed teachers to present how they had integrated the knowledge acquired during the first workshop into their classrooms. Some teachers were even accompanied by their students,“ explained Baskara. “They were all very enthusiastic. Some students showed short documentary films on the Holocaust and on the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia that they had produced.”

The event was organized within the framework of the International Conference on Education and the Holocaust (ICEH), a capacity-building programme organized by UNESCO and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that aims to globally advance the institutionalization of education about the Holocaust and genocide. Indonesia participated with a team of educators in the second ICEH in December 2017.

For more information about the project and the first workshop read this interview with Baskara T. Wardaya and visit the ICEH project page.