Amsterdam launching new Holocaust support program for educators

The city of Amsterdam intends to establish a new support center for schools who have questions or need advice about Holocaust education and anti-Semitism. The plan was announced on Friday, about a week after the Anne Frank House revealed new research showing that 42 percent of secondary school teachers have witnessed anti-Semitic incidents in the classroom in the past year.

Additionally, about 23 percent of people in the Netherlands who were born after 1980 think the deaths of six million Jews during the Holocaust is either a myth, or grossly exaggerated. Earlier in February, extreme right-wing activists used a laser projector to show a conspiracy theory on the Anne Frank House that claims the girl did not write her own diary, a premise that is commonly shared, though disproven, as a way of trying to discredit historians.

“We cannot and will not look away if the horrific facts of the Holocaust are insufficiently known to so many people,” said Marjolein Moorman, the city’s education alderman, in a statement. “We must help the schools that need support with this. That is why the municipality wants to provide schools with the necessary support to make this topic a subject for discussion in the classroom.”

The support center will be established in a deal with the office of the National Coordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism (NCAB). The center will provide references to educators looking for ways to effectively teach the Holocaust to students, as well as pedagogical support. The details are still being worked out, and will involve experts and Amsterdam educators.

“Holocaust education is a crucial part of the fight against anti-Semitism, discrimination and exclusion. This dark period of our history should not pass by any student. It is therefore important to consider how we can organize assistance to teachers who request it as easily as possible,” said Eddo Verdoner, the current NCAB.

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