EI member organisations from Germany, Austria, Poland and Israel are coming together in a two-day event to remember the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the World War II Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.
Starting on 26 January, the International Day of Commemoration to Honour Holocaust Victims, union representatives from the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft(GEW/Germany), the Verband Bildung und Erziehung(VBE/Germany), Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst(GÖD/Austria), NSZZ Solidarnosc(Poland), Zwizek Nauczycielstwa Polskiego(ZNP/Poland) and Histadrud Hamorim(ITU/Israel) will gather in Krakow for a seminar and a commemoration ceremony.
In a joint declaration, the heads of their delegations assert: “As unionists and at the same time professional educators we are facing a particular responsibility to foster young people and the next generations in committing themselves to humanity, civil awareness and living together in peace.”
With participation from education unions from countries on both sides of the battle lines, discussions at the seminar will centre around the lessons we can draw from recent history about racism and the role of education unions in teaching those lessons.
On the second day of the event, participants will gather at the Auschwitz extermination camp itself where a ceremony will be held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the camp.
It is the second time that education unions have taken part in the activities of the International Day of Commemoration to Honour Holocaust Victims.
Below is the English version of their joint declaration for the event:
International Day of Commemoration to honour Holocaust victims 2010
Joint Symposium and Commemoration of the Teachers’ and Education Unions of Israel (ITU), Poland (NSZZ Solidarnosc and ZNP) and Germany (VBE and GEW) and Austria (GÖD ARGE Lehrer)
Kraków – Oswiecim, 26/27 January 2010
On the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust delegations of Teachers’ and Education Unions of Israel (Histadrut Hamorim), Poland (NSZZ Solidarnosc and ZNP), Germany (VBE and GEW) and Austria (GÖD ARGE Lehrer) convened for a joint commemoration on 27 January 2010 at the former Auschwitz extermination camp. The day before they held an international symposium in Kraków to debate recent developments of anti-semitism, racism and xenophobia and to exchange information and experiences of their struggle for tolerance. With these activities the unions want to send a clear and visible message showing their national and international commitment to foster education for tolerance, the respect for other human beings, non-violent conflict resolution and the living together of people and nations in peace - disregarding any differences of religious or ethnic origins.
As heads of their delegations the presidents of the participating trade unions expressed in a public statement:
“The Holocaust victims oblige us to do everything that is in our power, • to prevent such atrocities against mankind in the future • to condemn any kind of violence, terror and war and any forms of genocide • to reject and punish any denial of the Holocaust as historical event either in full or in part • to denounce any manifestations of anti-semitism, racism and xenophobia and any discrimination of minorities and to fight them whenever occuring • to empower und encourage people - individually as well as in communities and nations - to live together in a sense of tolerance, mutual respect and the acceptance of people with different ethnic or religious background • to contribute in developing an understanding that differences in traditions and cultures must be considered and acknowledged as an enrichment – diversity as a chance.
As unionists and at the same time professional educators we are facing a particular responsibility to foster young people and the next generations in committing themselves to humanity, civil awareness and living together in peace – by also confronting them adequately with the Holocaust and its remembrance. We, therefore, welcome every specific pedagogical activity and initiative in this respect implemented by members of our unions on national as well as on international level, not only in the context of international and national Days of Commemoration – there are much more opportunities in daily life to deal with any kind of anti-semitism and discrimination.