Involving librarians and library infrastructure
The idea of an international format that would serve to engage library infrastructure in teaching and learning about the Holocaust was developed after several years of Terraforming’s work with library networks in Serbia on promoting education about the Holocaust. During that time we explored various ways to straighten remembrance culture and enhance education about the Holocaust by involving librarians’ expertise, as well as the literature, Holocaust related records and other relevant collections available in libraries.
Unexplored and unutilized potential
We came to conclusion that there is an unexplored and unutilized potential for engaging libraries in teaching and learning about the Holocaust, particularly in a new environment of digital transformation of museums and the culture of remembrance. We realised that existing teacher-training infrastructure need to be adjusted to open for other multipliers, such as librarians and archivists, in order to prepare them for a new active role in education about the Holocaust while utilizing their specific expertise, organizational structures and facilities, and Holocaust related material they have access to.
Broad international cooperation
With aim to create a contextual framework for such a collaborative platform, and to propose this new strategy to important international stakeholders, Terraforming partnered with Europeana, the Anne Frank House, the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia, and the National Library of Serbia, and developed the project “International Library Platform for Education About the Holocaust”. In addition, the Arolsen Archives, Yad Vashem, Erinnern.at, Vienna University Library, Foundation Humanity in Action, Historical Archive of the City of Novi Sad, University Library of Belgrade, as well as independent experts, played very important roles and made significant contributions to the project. The project was supported by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, The National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
A summary of discussions and idea exchanges
In this publication we present the concept in the form of a summary of discussions and idea exchanges between librarians, archivists, teachers, historians, experts, representatives of the Jewish communities and other stakeholders, collected during the meetings, seminars and exchanges arranged in the frames of the project, in particular during the concluding international seminar at the National Library of Serbia in Belgrade.
The aim of this publication is not to offer all the answers. There are many questions and challenges that still need to be addressed. But, I am proud to say that after we discussed it, many world renowned experts are intrigued and excited about the potentials the International Library Platform for Education About the Holocaust presents.
The project was awarded Yehuda Bauer grant by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who supported and contributed to this work.