Innovative New Holocaust Education Project Launches In Birmingham Schools
An innovative new national arts education project, which will use Holocaust survivors' stories to teach young people about where prejudice and hatred can lead, launched in 12 culturally diverse Birmingham schools today.
Journalist Natasha Kaplinsky OBE and 88-year-old Holocaust survivor, Zigi Shipper BEM, met with young people from the city's Jewellery Quarter Academy to launch Echo Eternal - a dynamic, commemorative arts, media and civic engagement project. Echo Eternal will encourage young people to explore the events of the Holocaust and the wider lessons for society through a range of art forms, facilitated by an artist-in-residence, commissioned in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The project is supported by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation which has gifted 12 survivor testimonies specially recorded by Ms Kaplinsky as part of a national drive to ensure the UK has a permanent record of survivors' experiences before it is too late.
Natasha Kaplinsky, who recorded over 100 such testimonies and herself lost family during the Holocaust, said;
“There is no more powerful way to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust and its lessons for today than to hear the experiences of those who survived.
“The testimonies I had the privilege of recording will have a permanent home in the new national memorial and education centre being built next to Parliament. But it is essential that we also ensure these valuable resources reach people across the country. That is why I am so pleased to be here with Zigi in Birmingham today.”
88-year-old Polish born Zigi Shipper arrived in the UK in 1947 after surviving Auschwitz-Birkenau, his will be the first of 12 testimonies that will offer inspiration to young people in this first pilot year of the project.
“When we teach about the Holocaust, we are teaching people not to hate. There can be no more powerful message for our young people to hear.”
The Echo Eternal project will culminate in a live performance event around National Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2019 at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Filmmaker Paul Davies of VYKA will also work with participating students to make a series of three minute educational films aimed at young people and to be made available nationally via the Memorial and education centre, which is to be built alongside the Palace of Westminster and will include extensive online resources to ensure impact across the UK.
Echo Eternal is being led by CORE Education Trust, which runs six schools across Birmingham. Adrian Packer CBE, Chief Executive of CORE Education Trust said;
“It is a great privilege to have been gifted with these remarkable and poignant stories of UK Holocaust survivors. Our duty is to honour these stories by allowing children to generate an authentic response to what they hear and to keep the memory of the survivors alive eternally.”
Steve Ball, Associate Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre also said;
“Echo Eternal places the testimonies of Holocaust survivors at the centre of a national education programme which engages artists and children in schools. It recognises the power of Art to tell important stories, to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and to use words and physical and visual expression to create and not destroy.”