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Working Sessions for Holocaust Education in Latin America

The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) joined with the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires to co-organize four working sessions focused on strengthening Holocaust education in Latin America for public officials from the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities and representatives from the Latin American Networks for the Teaching of the Shoah (LAES Network, for its acronym in Spanish). Supported by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the interactive workshop series was held on October 13, 20, 27 and November 16. 

24 representatives from diverse regional institutions attended the program series, including representatives of the Ombudsperson’s Offices of Ecuador and Paraguay, the Ministries of Education of Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay and El Salvador, Ministry of Human Rights of Brazil, and civil society representatives of memorial museums of Costa Rica, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Perú and Panamá. Each session of the program worked to build capacities and facilitate exchange between participating Latin American government officials, academics, and civil society representatives on best practices in education, research and public policy related to Holocaust education with a preventive lens. To facilitate this objective, opportunities were created for participants to identify best practices and share experiences in the field and discuss ways to encourage the replication of these types of activities into distinct Holocaust education programs after each lecture featured in the program’s agenda.

The first workshop of the series, held on October 13, was devoted to the theme of Holocaust Education, including opportunities and challenges in Latin America. The day’s agenda included remarks by Dr. Yosef Goldstein, Lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Melton Center, as well as a training module conducted by Dr. Franco Fiumara, Criminal Judge and Doctor of Juridical Sciences and Political Sciences, on the prevention of atrocities and the role of education in relation to the Holocaust and other genocides. 

Convened on October 20, the second interactive working session focused on the relationship between education and atrocity prevention, with an emphasis on the “power of the place.” The importance of museums and sites of memory as methodological tools for teaching about the Holocaust and genocide prevention was highlighted in a lecture by Dr. James Waller, AIPG’s Director of Academic Programs. Program attendees then participated in a virtual guided visit through the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires. This session also included a presentation on the importance of memorialization, via museums and memorial spaces, related to the Holocaust and other genocides in Latin America, which was delivered by Dr. Emmanuel Kahan.

On October 27, the third working session of the series was dedicated to existing risk factors for mass atrocities. The day’s agenda focused specifically on Holocaust distortion and denial, with Mariana Salazar, AIPG’s Academic Programs Associate for Latin America and International Law, discussing tools and methodologies related to the analysis of risk factors for mass atrocity violence. After a Q&A session with the instructor,  a plenary session to integrate the main topics developed during the previous sessions was held.

On November 16, as an official closing ceremony for the program, the Auschwitz Institute and the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires facilitated an interactive dialogue to share views about the recommendations and best practices for the implementation and integration of pedagogical resources and policies into their respective institutional agendas, public policies and future training programs. The workshop series was then brought to a close with a talk by Dr. Yehuda Bauer entitled Holocaust denial and distortion”  and a subsequent discussion panel, which was conducted by Jonathan Karszenbaum, Director of the Museum of Holocaust of Buenos Aires, and Eugenia Carbone, Director of AIPG’s Latin American Program.