The Northern Ireland Government has announced funding for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project.
Education Minister, Peter Weir, and Communities Minister, Paul Givan, are to provide funding of £160,000 to enable the Holocaust Educational Trust to deliver its Lessons from Auschwitz Project to Northern Ireland’s schools and colleges.
The announcement was made during a visit to Ards and North Down Museum where the Ministers had the opportunity to see a Holocaust exhibition which explores the history of the Kindertransport – the organised rescue effort that took place to bring Jewish children to the UK during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Weir said: “History is an essential part of the school curriculum in Northern Ireland and it is important that we remember events such as the Holocaust and learn from them. We must ensure our young people have an understanding of what went on and that they see where hatred, prejudice and intolerance can ultimately lead. The Lessons from Auschwitz Project will be an extremely worthwhile and rewarding experience for our young people.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are delighted that we will now be able to bring the Lessons from Auschwitz Project to students in Northern Ireland. Thanks to this funding young people across Northern Ireland will have a life changing opportunity – alongside students from the rest of the UK.
“The Holocaust was the darkest episode in our shared history – the systematic, industrialised murder of six million people just because they were Jewish. As the young people who participate visit the notorious concentration and death camp, they become witnesses to the place that symbolises the depths of man’s inhumanity to man. Not only will they be tasked with the responsibility to remember, but also with the responsibility to consider how they, the next generation, can make a positive difference. We are looking forward to getting started!”
Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “I warmly welcome the decision of the Northern Ireland Executive to fund the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project in the week in which we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. This was one ‘Ten Commitments’ that the Board of Deputies and the Belfast Jewish Community asked from incoming Members of the Legislative Assembly at the elections in 2016 and we raised the issue in meeting with all the main parties in Northern Ireland during my visit to Stormont in February last year. In our meetings with the different parties, I was gratified at the common ground there seemed to be on this issue, despite the sometimes fractious nature of Northern Ireland politics. This decision demonstrates the value of the Board working together with local Jewish communities right across our family of nations and is a tribute to the tremendous importance of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s powerful project. I am delighted that school-children in Northern Ireland will now benefit from it.”