November 2, 2020
2021 Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week
By Kate McCloud
The need for accessible Holocaust education continues to be clear as demonstrated in a recent survey which shows that 55% of Texas Millennials and Gen Z adults were unable to name a single Concentration Camp or Ghetto, 63% did not know that six million Jews were killed, and 32% that believed 2 million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The mission of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio is to teach “the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy, and promote good citizenship, democratic values, and respect for human dignity.” The educational resources available now at hmmsa.org continue to prepare educators to teach this difficult subject to grades K-12.
The museum, a program of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio, is preparing for January 2021’s Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week. This community-wide event is designed to provide schools in South Texas the means to fulfill the educational mandate set by the passing of Senate Bill 1828. This bill mandates age-appropriate Holocaust education for grades K-12 in Texas public schools. The date for Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week coincides with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day which is January 27. On that day in 1945, the largest Nazi death and concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by the Red Army.
Last year’s inaugural Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week saw hundreds of South Texas students visit the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Campus of the Jewish Community to take part in four lectures given by museum docents and children of survivors. That week two of the lectures were live streamed to broaden the reach of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio to rural and small urban schools unable to physically visit the campus.
For the 2021 Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week, the museum will present virtual programs. In an aggressive plan to reach thousands of students, twenty 45-minute special topic presentations will be available to schools and teachers on January 25 – 29, 2021. Presentations each day will be live streamed and featured throughout the week on the museum’s social media channels and website. These presentations will be led primarily by the children and grandchildren of local survivors and upstanders. The theme for the week is a quote from Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
In addition to these virtual presentations the museum will be hosting three teacher workshops in December and January to prepare local teachers to teach the curriculum in their own classrooms. The museum also has twenty-two educational trunks and two traveling exhibits available for local schools to borrow leading up to, or after, the event. Additional resources, including recorded survivor testimonies, online exhibits, interactive webpages, a video tour, downloadable worksheets, and book recommendations will also continue to be available on the museum’s website – hmmsa.org.
The programming offered at HMMSA for Texas Holocaust Remembrance week has been generously sponsored through a grant from the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.