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Historical Insights: Teaching the Holocaust in the 21st century

As Simon Schama has recently observed (Financial Times 2012) it was almost ten years after the end of World War II before historians began to research what later became known as the Holocaust or Shoah. It took more than another 30 years before Holocaust modules became a standard feature of UK undergraduate History curricula. Indeed in most cases this was initially reactive – a response to the introduction of the Holocaust as a compulsory element in England’s History key stage three curriculum in 1994.

An important feature of many of higher education (HE) Holocaust modules has been the inclusion of face-to-face testimony by Holocaust survivors. Informal meetings between a survivor and small groups of students are particularly effective. However very soon the Holocaust will no longer be within living memory and Holocaust education in HE will need to adapt.

There are a variety of different approaches to the teaching of the Holocaust in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). At many institutions it is discipline specific and is taught as part of History Religious Studies Literature or Film Studies degrees.

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The materials published on this page were originally created by the Higher Education Academy.