More energetic support for Holocaust education is needed

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), on the eve of 27 January – International Holocaust Remembrance Day, once again points out that by marking this day we pay tribute to millions of victims, but also build a society that accepts the importance of dealing with the past.

Remembrance of one of the biggest crimes in the history of mankind also warns of the obligation of all political and social actors, together or through their individual actions, to oppose retrograde ideologies, hatred, prejudice and propaganda, that, unfortunately, even contemporary societies are not immune.

CCE emphasizes the need to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day more adequately by decision-makers, although we do not expect this to happen in the current Montenegrin context. This is another devastating indicator of the unwillingness of decision-makers to systematically address important social processes instead of focusing on daily political issues and inter-party struggles.

This year, on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we point out the need to improve official teaching on the Holocaust, including teaching in places of remembrance in educational systems and integration of the Holocaust into education on anti-fascism. Also, we hope for more content-based support from institutions with initiatives to commemorate and study the Holocaust and other massive violations of human rights. It is disappointing that no progress has been made in consolidating the data of all victims from Montenegro or who found refuge in Montenegro, who died in the Holocaust and camps across Europe.

CCE expects from the responsible authorities more energetic support for the regional initiative to re-establish the “Yugoslav Pavilion” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Center. We remind that 20,000 Yugoslavs died in this death camp, including several dozen citizens of Montenegro.

Montenegro, as one of the countries whose history is not burdened with a direct inheritance of the Holocaust, did too little to promote resistance to this genocide, as well the inclusion of the elements in the educational system and the culture of remembrance.

In 2005, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January). On that day, 75 years ago, the largest concentration camp of Nazi Germany – Auschwitz-Birkenau – was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. During its five years of existence, 1,100,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed. The Holocaust represents the systematic extermination of European Jews during World War II and killed about 6,000,000 Jews. The Resolution calls on all UN members to respect the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and encourages the development of educational programmes on the history of the Holocaust, which seeks to show determination to help prevent acts of genocide in the future.

Petar Đukanović, programme director