Although the Memorial had to close to the public in 2020, we did everything we could to continue most of our work in new ways, be it in educating and transferring knowledge in schools, or online and on social media channels. Indeed, conferences, debates, movies and documentaries were uploaded daily.
Momentous memorial occasions like the public reading of the names of deportees and the celebration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were followed by our usual audience as well as a large new audience that will surely join our regular supporters.
High school and primary school educators called on us ceaselessly to work with their pupils who couldn’t come to the Memorial. Hence, wee sent out teams to meet with these youths face-to-face and help them acquire historical knowledge, ponder the consequences of racism and antisemitism throughout history, and reflet and develop their critical sense in the face of potential attempts to manipulate and misinform them.
Another development is under way. As you know, for many years, we’ve been training high school teachers to help them teach the history of the Holocaust and of genocides, and to show the mechanisms of racism and antisemitism and of the hatred that is their breeding ground. In recent years, the Interior Ministry wished for us to welcome police academy cadets in the context of their training, before their deployment on the ground, so as to raise their awareness of these issues and train them to better handle often complicated situations.
Today, new organizations call on us as they feel the need to raise awareness within their teams. We are rolling out citizenry trainings within the judicial sphere and reaching out to prisoners in penitentiaries. We also work with high-profile companies on ethical issues. The Memorial is coming out of the challenging past few months stronger and more determined than ever to continue its duty to pass on the fundamental values of tolerance, responsibility, open-mindedness and education.
That is the daily work of the wonderful team at the Memorial. I want to thank them for fair efforts and resilience, and the remarkable work they have achieved this year.
I am particularly thankful to our donors for not forgetting about us last year. Your generosity and loyalty touched me deeply and have allowed the Memorial to carry on working efficiently.
But tomorrow is another day and I urge you to stay loyal to us. The Memorial’s work is one for the long haul and we must do even more. And we cannot do it without you.
Éric de Rothschild
President of the Shoah Memorial