Today, January 27th, is UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day – a day to honour survivors and victims of the Holocaust and share their stories, which we do today and every day. We hope you’ll take some time today to read survivor stories like Caplan’s, who was released from an internment camp just over 77 years today, and learn about the Holocaust.
We are at a turning point in Holocaust education, and not only because many survivors are no longer doing in-person events. What will it be like when there are no longer any Holocaust survivors left to share their stories in real time?
In this blog post, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program manager of education initiatives, Marc-Olivier Cloutier, asks Stephanie Kessler, an English and history teacher at Collège Reine-Marie in Montreal, about her experiences teaching the Holocaust. Kessler brings Holocaust education into the curriculum year after year, using many of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program resources.
“No one / bears witness for the / witness,” writes Paul Celan in “Ashglory” (here translated by Pierre Joris). I returned to this poem again and again when, in 2017, I held the role of writing partner for the Sustaining Memories Project, a program created by the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program in partnership with the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.
A story about shoes: It was Holocaust Education Week, 2019, and I accompanied Judy Cohen, the 91-year-old survivor whose memoir I was then immersed in — shifting passages, recasting sentences, checking dates and historical data — to a talk she was giving at York University.