Elevating Holocaust Education in Schools: Survivors Take Their Testimony Directly to the Classroom

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The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) has launched the Survivor Speakers Bureau (SSB), a program featuring over 270 Holocaust survivors who are willing to share their critical stories with students worldwide. The goal is to educate future generations about the Holocaust and combat the rising antisemitism seen around the world.

The Claims Conference, dedicated to securing justice for Jewish survivors since 1951, has been successful in obtaining financial compensation from the German government, amounting to over $90 billion, for individuals affected by Nazi persecution. In addition, the Claims Conference has secured increasing funding for Holocaust education, with funding set to increase annually from 2024 to 2027.

The importance of firsthand accounts from Holocaust survivors is highlighted by Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference, who believes that every student, regardless of location, should have the opportunity to hear directly from survivors. A recent survey revealed that a majority of respondents, including Millennials and Gen Z, believe that Holocaust education should be compulsory in schools.

The Survivor Speakers Bureau aims to connect survivors with students through virtual and in-person presentations. Virtual presentations are particularly vital for schools located in areas where survivors may not be accessible. The goal is to ensure that Holocaust education reaches communities that have previously had limited exposure to survivors’ testimonies.

To request a survivor speaker, schools or social groups can register on the bureau’s website. They must provide details about their institution, including audience size and age, venue, and any special requests. The Claims Conference reviews each request before connecting survivors with the requesting institutions or groups.

The Survivor Speakers Bureau is a significant step toward preserving Holocaust memory, promoting understanding about the impact of bigotry and antisemitism, and preventing future atrocities.

The Survivor Speakers Bureau program launched by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) seeks to educate future generations about the Holocaust and combat rising antisemitism globally. This initiative is part of the Claims Conference’s ongoing efforts to secure justice for Jewish survivors and obtain financial compensation for individuals affected by Nazi persecution.

The Claims Conference has been successful in obtaining over $90 billion in financial compensation from the German government for survivors. This funding has been crucial in supporting survivors in their later years and ensuring their well-being.

In addition to financial compensation, the Claims Conference has also secured increasing funding for Holocaust education. Starting from 2024 and continuing until 2027, funding for Holocaust education will increase annually. This commitment demonstrates the organization’s dedication to preserving Holocaust memory and promoting understanding of the impact of bigotry and antisemitism.

The importance of firsthand accounts from Holocaust survivors cannot be overstated. Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference, emphasizes that every student, regardless of their location, should have the opportunity to hear directly from survivors. A recent survey has shown that a majority of respondents, including Millennials and Gen Z, believe that Holocaust education should be compulsory in schools. These firsthand testimonies are crucial in fostering empathy and understanding among young people.

Recognizing that not all schools have access to survivors in their local communities, the Survivor Speakers Bureau offers virtual presentations. This ensures that students in areas where survivors may not be accessible still have the opportunity to learn from their stories. By leveraging technology, the program aims to reach communities that have previously had limited exposure to survivors’ testimonies.

To request a survivor speaker, schools or social groups can register on the bureau’s website. They will need to provide details about their institution, including audience size and age, venue, and any special requests. The Claims Conference carefully reviews each request before connecting survivors with the requesting institutions or groups to ensure the best match for an impactful presentation.

The Survivor Speakers Bureau is a significant step in preserving Holocaust memory, promoting understanding, and preventing future atrocities. By connecting survivors with students worldwide, the program aims to create a lasting impact and combat the rising tide of antisemitism. For more information, visit the Claims Conference website.