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New project will teach pupils about the holocaust through the eyes of Welsh child refugees

23 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Anonymous photographer from the Auschwitz Erkennungsdienst. Several sources believe the photographer to have been SS officers Ernst Hoffmann or Bernhard Walter, who ran the Erkennungsdienst., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A new project that will teach pupils about the holocaust through the video testimonies of young Welsh refugees has been developed for schools.

Primary and secondary school students will learn about pre-war Jewish life,  Jewish resistance, and Britain’s response to the Holocaust as part of the project.

A huge range of resources, including photographs, parliamentary debates, and trial transcripts is also being made available.

The Holocaust Education Resources for students and teachers in Wales has been produced by The Jewish History Association of Wales/ Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW/CHIDC) as part of a European-funded project called the European Network of Testimony based Digital Education.

Taught in English and Welsh, it includes online classroom activities, educational resources, and teacher guidance notes on the history of the Holocaust and its connection to Wales.

The materials are built around video testimonies from child refugees who came to Wales in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution.

These survivor testimonies were collated from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.

They tell local stories and show Jews as part of a collective, shared Welsh history and also give voice to the individuals and communities destroyed by the Holocaust.

Social media

Emelye Clifford, JHASW/CHIDC Education Officer, said: “The pernicious effects of social media and the rise in antisemitic hate incidents are a chilling reminder that the lessons of the Holocaust continue to have urgent relevance today.

“Our new Holocaust education materials aim to confront the devastating, disorienting truths of how and why the Holocaust happened, as well as educating children on the full depth and vitality of Jewish life that was lost.

“As part of the project, I have been struck by the extraordinary voices and memories of the Holocaust survivors who escaped to Wales – they are enlightening and profoundly necessary. Teaching through these voices and memories is fundamental in combating anti-Jewish sentiment, countering false narratives and lies and illuminating our present.”

JHASW/CHIDC is now training teachers in Wales on using the resources in the classroom.

They are aligned to the new Welsh Curriculum and free to use.

After the success of this project, the charity aims to apply for additional funding to expand its education resources further.

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Eva Schenkel Arnott
Eva Schenkel Arnott
1 year ago

I was born in Vienna in 1936. My father’s Jewish family was affluent and assimilated and my mother was not Jewish. We became refugees in 1938, living in Derry, Northern Ireland until 1945, then Kettering and finally Cardiff in 1949..
I was fortunate in being able to attend the excellent Cardiff High School for Girls when it was on The Parade. From there I went to UCNW, Bangor. After graduation my late husband, Peter Arnott, and I emigrated to the US where I still live. I had ten happy years in Wales, with no anti-Semitic problems at all

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

1870-1974 European History should be compulsory…

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

An excellent initiative – well done to everyone involved.

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