The UK is currently hosting presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and as part of this important year, it has partnered with UCL Centre from Holocaust Education, to invite schools across 35 member states to participate in an international initiative called ‘My Hometown’. It involves engaging students in a small project to explore the Holocaust via a direct link to the students’ hometown.

In Europe, schools may, for example, find out about sites local where Jews once thrived before the Holocaust, sites where atrocities took place or of sites where remarkable acts of resistance, resilience or rescue occurred. In the UK, projects can lead students to discover places not far from their home/school relating to victims, survivors, and refugees as well as rescuers, liberators, care/aid givers.

Schools could examine cemeteries, former refugee hostels, internment camps, memorials, or uncover stories relating to the contributions that survivors and refugees made to the UK or refugees who later became British servicemen and women.

A handbook for teachers has been produced by Collingwood Learning to support you. It will spell out the project requirements and identify the dates for submission. See here:  https://indd.adobe.com/view/1e2b86f0-f23e-4b0f-b313-6ef7a9d35ee6 .

The most original entrees will be showcased on the UK Presidency website in December at the IHRA Winter plenary and all participants will receive a certificate.

One of our Beacon Schools, Oaks Park in Ilford, London is planning to enter. The school is located just a few meters away from where Auschwitz Survivor Leon Greenman lived for over 40 years until his passing in 2008 at the age of 97. As part of the project, the students will tell his powerful story of survival and resilience and record how the close affinity with Leon is amplified by the fact that they share the same postcode as Leon, can walk to the street where he lived, and are part of the same East London community.

A fantastic resource that can assist schools is the UK Holocaust Map produced by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR)  and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.  There are over 400 pinned locations across England on the online map that show links to the Holocaust with relatable information, images and documents. There is an excellent search engine too that makes it easy for you to find links to your Hometown.

We would be delighted to see our Beacon Schools past, and present participate in this prestigious international initiative.

If you need further information please contact me at r.lenga@ucl.ac.uk.

Ruth-Anne Lenga
UCL Centre for Holocaust Education
Deputy Head of UK Delegation to IHRA.

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