The Board of Deputies has called for every school child to receive a free copy of Anne Frank’s diary to help safeguard the UK’s commitment to Holocaust education and commemoration.
The initiative is in response to the Government’s cross-party Holocaust Commission. Based on evidence from more than 60 Jewish and Holocaust organisations and individuals, the detailed document contains a number of eye-catching recommendations, of which this is one, drawing on the views of Holocaust survivors, synagogual movements, students, Jewish youth groups, schools and Jewish care organisations.
The report calls for the existing Holocaust module within the history curriculum to be strengthened and to cover more subjects and age groups, and for it to be underpinned by additional specialist training for teachers.
It expresses particular concern about the delivery of the module in faith and free schools, which may be exempt from the demands of the curriculum. It also calls for Yom HaShoah to be designated as a special day in Jewish schools, with trips to museums or specific programmes, and for Holocaust Memorial Day to be emphasised by a national period of silence as widely observed on Armistice Day.
It says the excellent Government-funded trips to Auschwitz – organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust – should be extended to Jewish schools.
The report’s author, Laura Marks, senior vice-president of the Board, said: “As Jews, we have a responsibility for Holocaust remembrance. However, this is not our responsibility alone. We cannot allow our young – Jewish and non-Jewish – to grow up ignorant of its legacy. We must all learn lessons for the future of Jews and non-Jews alike.”