Holocaust Educational Trust's 'Auschwitz Project' lessons to tackle campus antisemitism

Nazi graffiti, 'Hitler was right' posters and Holocaust denial literature have appeared on campuses recently


Rising antisemitism on university campuses has prompted the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) to team up and launch a new project in a bid clamp down on it.

UJS and HET highlighted that the Community Security Trust (CST) has found 112 antisemitic incidents against Jewish students, academics or other student bodies.

UJS chief executive David Davidi-Brown said campuses had seen "Nazi graffiti, “Hitler was right” posters and Holocaust denial literature" in recent years. "The need for this project is clear," he said.

The new initiative, Lessons From Auschwitz University Project, was launched thanks to a £144,000 grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education.

It is modelled on HET’s project, Lessons From Auschwitz. Since its launch, that scheme has taken more than 36,500 students, aged 16 and over, and teachers from across the UK to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Lessons From Auschwitz University Project aims to do the same with universities. As well as visiting the concentration camp, Vice-Chancellors and student leaders will attend a half-day seminar where they will learn about pre-war Jewish life, as well as hearing the testimony of a Shoah survivor.  

Participants will work with educators from the Holocaust Educational Trust, hearing discussions and reflecting upon what they have learned.

HET chief executive Karen Pollock said: “By visiting the most notorious former Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, we are giving university and student leaders the opportunity to begin to understand the magnitude of the Holocaust, which saw six million men, women and children murdered just because they were Jewish.

“Being at one of the largest sites of murder in history forces one to consider where hatred can ultimately lead.

“With reports of antisemitism and prejudice seeping onto our university campuses, we must tackle it head on. I hope that senior university leaders and sabbatical officers will join us in this unique project.”

Following the trip, those involved will gather at a symposium, where they will be encouraged to reflect on their experiences.

Mr Davidi-Brown added: “Whilst everyday on almost every campus Jewish students live safe, full and free lives, the expansion of this work will ensure student union and institutional leadership are working towards that being the case everyday on every campus.

"Jewish students involve thousands of students of all backgrounds in interfaith projects and Holocaust Memorial Day activity each year. We look forward to participants in this project joining these efforts to build hate free and harmonious campuses for students of all faiths, nationalities and cultures.”

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