The Government has said it will fund a £144,000 project that extends the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Auschwitz programme to universities for the first time.
Under the plan, 200 university students from across the country will visit the former Nazi death camp and return to lead seminars in an effort to target anti-Semitism on campus. Currently the HET works mainly with schools and colleges.
The new money comes from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education, and the programme will be jointly delivered by the HET and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS).
“These resources will enable a substantial expansion of student and university leaders receiving the training needed to combat anti-Semitism on campus,” said UJS president Josh Holt.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said Holocaust education was “one of the most powerful tools we have to fight bigotry,” adding that the new programme would “tackle anti-Semitism, intolerance and prejudice on university campuses”.
Just days before this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, the announcement was made at a Holocaust Educational Trust dinner on Tuesday night, where the BBC’s Nick Robinson spoke, and Holt said it was in part a response to recent events.
“Sadly we have seen a distressing increase in swastika graffiti, Holocaust denial literature and politicisation of the Holocaust on some UK campuses,” he said.
“We are determined to combat this and welcome this significant contribution to our longstanding work bringing students of all faiths and backgrounds together to create cohesive campus communities.”
HET chief executive Karen Pollock agreed, saying: “Anti-Semitism remains a real challenge on campus and tackling it is crucial… We know how important it is to support those people on the frontline dealing with it day in day out.”
She added that the students’ specialised course “will include taking student and university leaders to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau so that they can see with their own eyes where anti-Semitism has led in the past”.
Source: Jewish News