European Education Ministers are set to discuss the question of how to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons after all its survivors have passed away.
Twelve European ministers will participate in a special conference held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as part of the 29th March of the Living, an annual educational program which brings students from around the world to Poland, where they explore some of the remnants of the Holocaust.
The special conference was set in motion by the organizers of the march together with Austrian Education Minister Sonja Hammerschmid, who commented that “every state and society has dark chapters in its history. Austria and the Austrian education ministry have to deal with a long history of anti-Semitism that existed even before the rise of the Nazi regime and with the contribution of many Austrians in the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust.”
“We in Austria feel that we have learned much from the experience of other countries, such as Israel, and so are inviting other countries to learn from us,” Hammerschmid added.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett will also participate in the conference and will represent the country in the annual march. Bennett commented that “in every generation a person must act as if he himself went through the Holocaust. We could no longer point at the survivors and say ‘their Holocaust,’ we will have to take ownership of the horrible tragedy our people went through and instill it in the hearts of the next generations.”
On Holocaust Remembrance Day , More than ten thousand teenagers from around the world will march silently for three kilometers from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp complex built during World War II.
Bennett and several other education ministers who participate in the conference will also take part in the march, alongside the former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Tel Aviv chief rabbi and Holocaust survivor, Yisrael Meir Lau; Israel’s Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and the IDF’s Chief of General Staff Gadi Eisenkot, who will lead an army delegation of senior IDF officers.
(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)