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Call for Papers: Teaching about and Learning from the Holocaust


Call for papers: "Teaching about and Learning from the Holocaust. Practices and Experiences in Education", 22-23 January 2018, University of Teacher Education, Lausanne.

In 2004, Switzerland joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Now numbering 31 Member Countries, the aim of the IHRA is to strenghten and advance remembrance, research and education of the Holocaust. In March 2017, Switzerland will assume the Chairmanship of the IHRA, which it will hold for one year. As part of this Chairmanship, the University of Teacher Education in Lausanne, in collaboration with the University of Teacher Education in Lucerne, is organizing international study days on the theme of "Teaching about and Learning from the Holocaust: Practices and Experiences in Education". The study days are intended in particular for teachers and for trainers in educational institutions.

More than ten years ago, Switzerland introduced the "International Day of Holocaust Remembrance and of Prevention of Crimes against Humanity" on 27 January each year – a symbolic date corresponding to the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by the Red Army. This day is dedicated to the work of reflection and to perpetuating memory and history of the Holocaust and of the genocides which marked the 20th century, as well as to human rights, to tolerance and to interreligious and intercultural dialogue. The aim of the study days "Teaching about and Learning from the Holocaust: Practices and Experiences in Education" is to support educational work and approaches on these issues, as they might be addressed in a school context.

The question of teaching about and learning from the Holocaust arises in a number of national contexts, with each country having a different response on the basis of its own history and its relationship with the past. Positioning with regard to the Holocaust should be aligned not only with a country's particular situation, but also with the target audience. The aim is to explore teaching options which encourage reflection on the Holocaust and prevent new genocides, while at the same time identifying points of resistance and the undesirable effects of well-intentioned educational intervention.

The study days will give teachers and trainers from the various member states of the IHRA, including Switzerland, the opportunity to share their practices and their experiences. The aim is to promote exchange at the international level and to encourage a diversity of perspectives so that we can learn from each other.

The study days follow on from the international conference that was organized by the IHRA and the University of Teacher Education in Lucerne in February 2016, and was dedicated to empirical research on teaching about and learning from the Holocaust around the world and in a variety of languages. The challenge for the new conference is to reflect on Holocaust Education through the lens of practices and experiences in teaching and learning. The study days will help to implement in the classroom the goals bound up in the introduction of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as the educational guidelines drawn up by the IHRA and by actors of the Swiss educational field.


Are invited to submit a proposal: teachers, teacher trainers, cultural mediators and anyone else who has experienced pedagogical or educational approaches with pupils and that are relevant to the topics covered by the study days "Teaching about and Learning from the Holocaust". Preference will be given to papers which set out specific experiences: educational approaches (extracurricular or school project), teaching sequences (in the classroom), audio-visual and digital teaching materials used in Holocaust education which have actually been tested with pupils in compulsory and post-compulsory education. The papers should highlight the pedagogical and educational goals, the strengths that were identified and the difficulties that occurred.

The program for the international study days will include plenary sessions and workshops based on the papers that are submitted. In the interests of offering genuine opportunities for exchange and to ensure a coherent program, a selection of papers will be retained for the workshops. This selection will be made on the basis of the quality of the papers submitted, the way in which different perspectives are represented (educational approaches, teaching sequences, teaching materials), the target audiences (level of teaching), and will also endeavour to achieve a balance between speakers' countries of origin (i.e. the various linguistic regions of Switzerland, the member states of the IHRA). The expenses incurred by the selected speakers (travel, accommodation, meals) will be covered by the organisers of the international study days.


Proposals of no longer than 3,000 characters (including spaces) for presentations of 20 minutes may be submitted in French, German or English. They should be accompanied by a short CV and should state the institution to which the speaker is attached.

The languages of communication during the study days will be French, German and English.

Proposals should be sent to the following address by 2. May 2017 at the latest: nadine [dott] fink[at] hepl [dott] ch.


Attendance at the international study days is free of charge. However, all participants must register on the website.

Registration opens: 15. August 2017

Registration closes: 31. October 2017


A selection of contributions to the study days will be published in Didactica Historica. Swiss Journal for History Teaching, edition no. 5 – 2019.


Nadine Fink (University of Teacher Education, Lausanne), Monique Eckmann (University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Geneva), Peter Gautschi (University of Teacher Education, Lucerne), Philippe Hertig (University of Teacher Education, Lausanne), Nathalie Masungi-Baur (University of Teacher Education, Lausanne), Sandrine Dreyfuss (University of Teacher Education, Lausanne, Secretariat).

With the support of:

State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI

Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education EDK

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA