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News and Op/Ed

Lest We Forget
Individual killed in Amaka Sara by helicopter gunship attack.
Individual killed in Amaka Sara, Darfur by helicopter gunship attack. (Photo: Brian Steidle, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)   

The Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council educates local teachers.

The resolution by the United Nations that designated January 27th as a world-wide annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked a historic moment in that forum, all the more significant in that it coincided with the date of liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp.

The United Nations' recognition of the horrific history and events of the Holocaust, the unprecedented state-sponsored annihilation of six million Jews as well as of millions of other victims deemed inferior by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II, charges us not only to serve as bearers of memory for future generations but also to translate the universal lessons of the Holocaust into societal action that can build bridges of understanding to transcend divisions based on race, religion or ethnic background.

Indeed, the U.N. Resolution, while addressing the Holocaust specifically, can speak to other victims of genocide today, such as those in Darfur. giving hope that a civilized society will not continue to accept such persecution. As we become the voices of those victims we can truly honor the memory of the millions who perished during the Holocaust as a result of world-wide silence.

Significantly, the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council, a state-wide organization comprised of volunteer educators, liberators, theologians and survivors and children of survivors, is committed to educating teachers about the Holocaust and its connections to contemporary issues. The Council advocates expanding teacher knowledge of the history and events of the Holocaust and provides supportive, developmentally appropriate resources for the development of curricula across content areas. For the past twenty years, the PHEC, funded by the PA. Dept. of Education, has presented staff-development training workshops to hundreds of teachers throughout PA.

Through its Clara's Trunk project, in memory of the late Holocaust survivor and educator/author, Clara Isaacman, and supported with the help of private donors and grants, teachers who attend a workshop can apply to receive a trunk full of selected Holocaust materials. 

At a regional, all -day PA Holocaust Conference this past Fall thirty teachers were provided with foundations for understanding the particular, inherent issues of the Holocaust as well as learning of its connections to the Darfur genocide. 

Now, more than ever, we of this generation need to realize the true significance of the U.N. Resolution by supporting educators who are committed to teaching about the Holocaust so they can in turn prepare future generations to assume their responsible place in a civilized society.

Visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum site for more information on Darfur.

Deanne Scherlis Comer
PA. Holocaust Education Council
Chairperson:Abington School District Holocaust Education Curriculum Committee