Schools postpone Holocaust education programmes due to ‘community tensions’ since October 7

The Anne Frank Trust said three schools have pulled out of planned participation post-October 7


The gates of Auschwitz

The Anne Frank Trust has said three schools have postponed their education programmes since October 7 due to “local community tensions.”

It comes as other Holocaust educators have warned against “a tidal wave of hate” targeted at organisations and the Jewish community in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists.

Tim Robertson, Chief Executive, of The Anne Frank Trust, said since October 7 the education charity had worked in in 172 schools across England and Scotland, reaching over 15,000 young people but “three schools have postponed our programmes because of local community tensions.”

The charity which educates 9 to 15-year-olds about Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and antisemitism said despite three schools pulling out from programmes their overall numbers of participants were up on this period last year.

Robertson said: “Overall we’ve been heartened at how committed schools remain to engaging with our work. We work with a very diverse range of young people and on the whole we’ve been strongly impressed by the sensitivity and integrity they have shown in reflecting on Israel-Hamas and the surge in antisemitism here in Britain.”

He said the charity had not found it necessary to make any substantial changes to its curriculum as a result of October 7 “but we’ve provided extra training and support for our staff,” Robertson said.

The Anne Frank Trust also said in the wake of the attacks it was putting more “emphasis on some key elements of Anne Frank’s story – like the way her sister Margot longed to move to what was then British Palestine, and the fact that Anne’s best friend Hannah Goslar rebuilt her life in Israel after surviving Bergen Belsen.”

The Trust is running two live online events from Holocaust Memorial Day focused on the testimony of a Holocaust survivor.

Robertson said hundreds of young people are already booked to attend.

He told the JC: “HMD is an invaluable catalyst for uniting people and places in commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides. The surge in anti-Jewish hatred since 7 October may pose a threat to this unity, but it also redoubles our motivation to honour the 6 million and build a world free from antisemitism.

“All of us at the Anne Frank Trust are determined that HMD 2024 will be as moving, educational and unifying as ever.”

Meanwhile Marc Cave, director of the National Holocaust Museum, said it was clear after October 7 that organisations like his “were going to face a tidal wave of hate and pressure.”

Speaking to the JC Cave said, “What we saw and still do after October 7 is the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to antisemitism.”

He said after two years of work on university campuses, the Museum had seen “some resistance” from universities when taking part in its programmes.

The Museum launched a Racism Response Unit for all university staff, schools, councils and the police.

The Unit teaches individuals how to spot racism against Jews today as opposed to “merely citing the history of anti-Jewish racism.”

He said: “Some universities have said if we do something on antisemitism, we must do something on Islamophobia.

“Our approach is let us empower you and your students or staff by giving you the training and education so you know how to deal with this.”

He said he was “disgusted” by the “intimidation of British Jews” in the wake of October 7.

He called for Holocaust educators not to cave under pressure from the “far left and Islamists” who target or pressure people to pull out of HMD events.

“If appeased and apologised for they will always get away with it. We have to keep putting them in the dock not us,” he said.

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