This Toolkit is released as an online beta version. Teachers are invited to share their experiences in using this Toolkit by emailing one of the project contacts.

A Hands-on Approach to the Holocaust and Human Rights Education

Teachers and students expressed a practical need with a view toward examining the connections between Holocaust and Human Rights Education. In response, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and Yad Vashem have developed this toolkit to provide first insights into Holocaust and Human Rights content and methodologies. This toolkit should facilitate teaching about and from the Holocaust and Human Rights. It is based on the joint program between Yad Vashem and FRA furthering teacher projects analyzing the first phases of the Nazi regime in Germany and subsequently in occupied Europe when the initial stages of human rights violations took place. The toolkit understands those initial violations as a warning of the alarming progression of the violation of fundamental human rights.

Human rights education can be seen as “learning to, in, about, through and for human rights”.[1]

Firstly, learning to human rights means a philosophy-based learning process aiming an understanding of the idea, the concept and, in front of all, a profound examination of the justification of human rights respecting the reflected autonomy of every individual as coherent to the idea of human rights, acknowledging cultural diversity, diversity of religions, diversity of traditions, diversity of world views, … and emphasizing the critical maturity of every individual supported by the helpful framework of critical questioning – human rights.

Secondly, learning in human rights means that the methods, instruments, tools, context (which can be formal, non-formal and informal as discussed above) and process of human rights education must be in coherence with human rights as well, e.g. they must outstand in their participatory mode.

Thirdly, human rights education is learning about human rights: human rights education imparts knowledge about human rights, about their history, about their origin, about their philosophical and terminological development, about their content, about the national, regional and international mechanisms of their implementation.

Fourthly, human rights education means learning through human rights: human rights education supports the development and reinforcement of values, attitudes and behaviour which respect and further human rights.

Fifthly, human rights education is learning for human rights: human rights education furthers the perception of options for actions for oneself and the willingness to act concretely and actively in favor of human rights.

While Holocaust education is especially enhancing the knowledge-dimension, human rights education is emphasizing building skills and changing attitudes/behaviour.

The Toolkit is a practical guide for teachers and educators who wish to develop teaching projects, by linking Holocaust and Human Rights. The toolkit builds on Guidelines adopted by the Education Working Group of the International Task Force for Holocaust Remembrance, Education and Research. [2] This Toolkit resulted from a joint cooperation of the FRA and Yad Vashem called Teaching about the Holocaust and Human Rights in the EU conducted in 2008-2009, with a view of supporting pedagogical activities of teachers in the EU in teaching about and from the Holocaust and human rights and providing tools on how to implement the ITF Education Working Group Guidelines on teaching the Holocaust in practice.
The aim of the guidelines is to encourage assist teachers in linking Holocaust education and human rights education. The national projects should give an idea on currently applied practices and are of experimental nature.

The Toolkit

  • Introduces selected projects developed and implemented by teachers in EU Member States.
  • Showcases methodologies, which were used during the projects.
  • Provides a merged methodology on the Holocaust and Human Rights Education as a result of the teaching experiences and projects.
  • Offers a reflection on the role of the teacher during a learning activity (shorter class room-unit).
  • Provides learning activities, list of “Issues to Keep in Mind”, checklists, learning materials for the preparation and moderation of a learning activity and a standardized evaluation sheet of the use of toolkit materials.
  • Offers guidance for teachers and for students for launching their own human rights projects with a link to Holocaust education.
  • Provides a list of practical tools including a short description of the single tools.
  • Highlights references to further sources of information and interlinks with the FRA Handbook for Teachers.[3]
  • Enables teachers to access an online, regularly updated resource, including new projects in the field, coordinated by other teachers.

This Toolkit showcases projects which have interlinked the Holocaust Education and Human Rights Education methodology with the purpose of raising awareness of young people about the Holocaust, its universal lessons, human rights framework, while respecting diverse backgrounds and experiences of young people. Most of the cross-national teaching projects were designed and implemented by teachers in secondary schools in EU Member States in a period 2009-2010. More than 400 secondary school students participated in the projects. Other projects were launched by other institutions in Europe. The cross-national nature of the projects illustrates that the methodology of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education, in practice, can be applied in diverse teaching environments and educational systems of the EU Member States.

In addition, a learning activity (shorter class room-lesson) of Holocaust Education and Human Rights Education are provided in the Toolkit.

 


[1] See Kirchschlaeger P. G./Kirchschlaeger T., Answering the “What”, the “When”, the “Why” and the “How”: Philosophy-Based and Law-Based Human Rights Education, in: Journal of Human Rights Education 1 (1/2009) 26-36.
See for Human Rights Education understood with three learning dimensions (learning about, through and for human rights) UN, ABC Teaching Human Rights: Practical activities for primary and secondary schools, available at http://www.ohchr.org/en/publicationsresources/pages/trainingeducation.aspx.

[2] See Guidelines for Teaching, available at: http://www.holocausttaskforce.org/education/guidelines-for-teaching.html

[3] The FRA has developed Handbook for teachers on the Holocaust and Human Rights Education on how to make best use of visits to Holocaust-related sites.

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