Building Holocaust knowledge and awareness – one classroom at a time

The 2023 cohort of 40 Australian teachers participating in the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators was the largest ever group.

As the people of the world stop to reflect and commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27th of January, the day when the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated, secondary school teachers who completed the Gandel Holocaust Program are gearing up to spread the message and teach their students about the Holocaust and its implications.

In January 2023, 40 teachers from every corner of Australia spent 18 days in Israel as part of the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators (GHSP). While at the International Holocaust School at the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, they were taught how to educate their students about the Holocaust in a professional, factual and age-appropriate way.

There, teachers learn from the best academics and Holocaust education experts; they hear survivor testimonies; they learn about the links between the Holocaust and antisemitism; and they learn about the challenges of teaching this topic in the digital world and the age of social media, which regularly exposes people to constant barrage of misinformation.

To date, nearly 400 educators from every corner of Australia, from Christmas Island to Mackay, from Gladstone to Launceston, from Morwell to Coffs Harbour, have been trained to teach about the Holocaust – and every year they reach thousands of students in their classrooms, and in their communities.

“The Gandel Program trains and equips teachers from around Australia so they learn and understand how best to teach about the Holocaust in a professional, skilful, empathetic and contemporary way,” said Vedran Drakulic OAM, CEO of Gandel Foundation.

“Through such deep and meaningful Holocaust education, the Gandel teachers play a critical role in helping to uphold, preserve and protect the memory of the Holocaust for future generations. Not only that – as importantly, teachers also help ensure we continue to build a more welcoming and a more compassionate society for all,” added Mr Drakulic.

Educators such as Bianca Anderson from St Augustine’s College in Kyabram Victoria have come back inspired and ready to help their students learn about the Holocaust and not only about the victims and the atrocities, but also about the acts of bravery and humanity.

“My experience of learning at Yad Vashem has simply been incredible. I am ready to share what I learned and help my students understand what it means when human rights are taken away,” said Bianca.

Through proper Holocaust education teachers help students to become informed and active citizens, to protect democracy, and to value a diverse and inclusive society. Learning about the dangers of hatred and discrimination, antisemitism and racism of any kind, is seen as critically important in fighting intolerance and prejudice in today’s world.

Teachers for this prestigious, award-winning professional development program are chosen following a rigorous selection process, and they are all already involved in Holocaust education, with many also active members of their teachers’ associations.


Pro Bono news article about the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program:

Creating a compassionate classroom