Investigating Holocaust education through the work of the museum educators at the Durban Holocaust Centre : a case study.
What is the work of the Durban Holocaust Centre museum educators and how are they shaping Holocaust education there? These questions provided the impetus for this study. Education about the Holocaust has been included in curricula not only in South African schools but in various countries around the world. The reasons for this extends beyond the hard historical facts and figures and go to the heart of a human search for meaning and the desire to promote democracy and human rights in society. The Holocaust was an event in which millions of Jewish men, women and children were murdered as well other ethnic groups. The dilemmas they faced and the decisions taken at that time differentiated the participants into victims, perpetrators, bystanders and upstanders. In the years since the end of World War II, people have strived to extract meaning from those events and to teach it to new generations in order to create a better world - a world in which bullying, racial and ethnic taunts and tensions, violence, discrimination against minorities and strangers, and genocide still occur. The findings show that as in other places in the world, this is the educational focus at the DHC. Teaching the history and events is the bedrock on which this social Holocaust education rests but it takes second place in the educational programme to this social goal. The findings show the local context for this learning is significant and that apartheid, racism and xenophobia all underpin the museum educators' educational philosophies while mother-tongue language moulds their teaching strategies. The museum educators play a pivotal role in presenting the educational programme and in so doing shaping the Holocaust for the visiting learners and teachers.
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