“Seeing Auschwitz really is about letting the learners make the connections and come up with their own responses to learning about the Holocaust”

Seeing Auschwitz - Johanesburg

Catherine Boyd, Head of Education of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC), finds the exhibition essential for schools, not only in terms of the historical content but also because of how it leads the visitor to critically analyze the photographs and compare them with other available resources.

South Africa.– After being a great success among visitors and students at the JHGC the Seeing Auschwitz exhibition has opened at the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Center for four months. This stop will be followed by the Cape Town Holocaust & Genocide until early 2024.

“We hope it visits more cities across the African continent”, declared Tali Nates, Director of the JHGC. “Society post-conflict very much needs to think about these issues, not only looking at the victims as human beings but also at perpetrators, and ask ourselves ‘why did they make those choices?’”, concluded.

The director remarked that, since opening in November 2022, it immediately attracted many visitors and institutions: the Embassy of Poland, Austria, Israel, and the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation, among others. She considers the visitors see the relevance for the community and humanity. It has also complemented the South African educational curriculum, as the study of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is compulsory in grades 8 and 9 for students between 15 and 17 years of age. 

“This was a life-changing experience that I will never forget”, grade 8 student after visiting Seeing Auschwitz. 

“We at the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre are very proud to host this extraordinary and very poignant exhibition” said Mary Kulk, Director of the Durban Holocaust and Genocide center. “Seeing Auschwitz offers visitors the opportunity to engage with this difficult subject in a profound way as it provides tangible reminders of the fragility of democracy and the urgent need to safeguard it at all times. Through this tragic history one is able to reflect on difficult contemporary issues challenging our country and indeed the world at this moment”, she added.

“It is difficult for many places in the world to organize a visit to the Auschwitz memorial. That is why creating an exhibition like Seeing Auschwitz was so relevant” shared Paweł Sawicki, Press Officer of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on his recent visit to the JHGC. “It is very important that all audiences can find some relevance from the universal image of Auschwitz to their story. Every country has its own challenges, and trying to find out why the Holocaust was possible, why some found the motivation to look at others as inferior human beings, and what can hateful ideologies do, is also a lesson and a warning for the visitors. That is the educational tool that both Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum wanted to bring”.

The format of the exhibition makes it possible to be presented in multiple destinations at the same time, so this year, in addition to the South African cities, it is expected to reach more venues around the world.

To learn more about the exhibition visit www.seeing-auschwitz.com


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