Gandel Holocaust Education Conference

May 30, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Over three days recently, teacher graduates from the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators participated in the educational conference in Melbourne.

John Gandel addresses the conference

This program has been going on for 10 years, with nearly 300 teachers undertaking a year-long course which culminates with being trained at Yad Vashem on how best to teach about the Holocaust in an informed and appropriate way.

More than half of the graduates gathered in Melbourne to hear from educational professionals, academics and experts, to expand their learning and share their own experiences of teaching the Holocaust in the Australian classrooms.

Premier Daniel Andrews

At the conference opening, more than 300 participants, guests and dignitaries heard from John Gandel, the Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy and Dr Eyal Kaminka, the Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. The highlight of the night was the official opening address by the Premier of Victoria, The Hon Daniel Andrews, who expressed his government’s support and endorsement for Holocaust education.

Other notable elements of the conference included a unique gathering of 12 Holocaust survivors, from Vic and NSW, who shared their stories of survival and of their “return to life” journeys, after arriving in Australia. The Israel Ambassador to Australia, HE Mark Sofer, also conferred an honour of the Righteous Among the Nations during the conference, recognising the efforts of Johannes and Tjerke Wagenaar from the Netherlands, with the honour accepted by their granddaughter Michelle Mathews.

John Gandel said: “It is not just the duty of the Jewish people, but of all of us, as citizens of the world, to ensure this work of educating – and remembering – the Holocaust continues. The rallying cry of the Holocaust remembrance movement, ‘Never Forget’, must continue to ring true for all future generations.”

In conclusion, John added: “Famous Israeli historian and scholar Yehuda Bauer once said ‘Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander’.”

The teachers have the power to show their students that they can – they MUST – be upstanders in their lives, never bystanders.

As for us, Gandel Philanthropy and all our partners will continue working with Yad Vashem to further develop this program, expand teachers’ connections and reach even more students with the lessons and legacies of the Holocaust.”

The Inaugural Gandel Holocaust Education Conference in Melbourne was jointly organised by Gandel Philanthropy, Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies and the Australian Foundation for Yad Vashem, with additional support from the Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B’nai B’rith, Courage to Care

Dr Eyal Kaminka

Vic. and the German and Israel Embassies in Canberra.

Dignitaries at the opening included Holocaust survivors, State and Federal politicians such as Mark Dreyfus, Josh Burns and David Southwick, Israel’s Ambassador to Australia Marks Sofer,  Susanne Koerber, Head of Culture and Press from the German Embassy, US Consul General Michael Kleine, German Honorary Consul Michael Pearce, Moana Weir, the Chair of the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Jewish community leaders, Commissioners from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and local government representatives.

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