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Key manifestations of Holocaust distortion

Objectives:

  • To familiarize participants with the main forms of manifestation of Holocaust distortion
  • To engage participants in exploring concrete examples of Holocaust distortion encountered online and offline
  • To increase participants’ critical understanding of different forms of manifestation of Holocaust distortion

Number of participants: 5–30
Duration: 90 minutes

Description of the activity:

  1. The participants are invited to watch again this 12-minute explanatory video on Holocaust distortion published by IHRA in 2021. This time, their task is to write down the different examples of Holocaust distortion presented in the video.
  2. After watching the video, the trainer informs the participants that they will work in groups to discuss about these and other manifestations of Holocaust distortion. They will express their opinions and comments first in small groups and then in plenary. However, if they have any questions of clarification about what was presented in the video, they are invited to ask them now.
  3. The participants are divided into groups of 4–5 people. The composition of the groups should be different from the groups in the first activity (in order to ensure that more examples can be shared). Each participant receives a copy of the Handout – Key forms of manifestation of Holocaust distortion.1 The task of each group is to discuss the examples of Holocaust distortion – those identified in the video and those discussed during the group work in the previous activity – and identify the categories under which they fall (based on the information presented in the handout).
  4. Each group is invited to present in the plenary the key points of the group discussion. After the first group presents, the following groups are asked to add only what was not already mentioned or to express a different point of view, if the case (for example if they consider that a certain manifestation of Holocaust distortion should be included in a different category). The trainer should check with the participants if they need clarification about any of the points mentioned in the handout and give more examples if not enough are coming from the group or from the other participants2.
  5. After all the groups have presented, the trainer conducts a debriefing discussion based on the following questions:
    • Did any of the examples presented in the video or by the colleagues surprise you? In what way?
    • Who are the different entities that are engaging in Holocaust distortion?
    • Do you think that most people who are engaging in Holocaust distortion do it on purpose or out of ignorance?

The trainer can stress here that ignorance does not make Holocaust distortion less dangerous. Its impact can be equally severe if not more so, but it requires a different approach in countering it.

  • What are the intentions of those who are engaging in different forms of Holocaust distortion?
  1. The trainer concludes by thanking the participants for their active engagement and by summarizing that Holocaust distortion has a strong impact on society by spreading antisemitism, and by prohibiting constructive efforts to acknowledge and address legacies of the Holocaust – including the responsibility of perpetrators in different countries – by contributing to distrust in science and democratic debate and to a generalized erosion of trust, knowledge and respect for truth.

 

1 The handouts are based on Understanding Holocaust Distortion: Contexts, Influences and Examplespublished by IHRA in 2021 and on History under attack: Holocaust denial and distortion on social mediapublished by the UN and UNESCO in 2022.

2 Examples of Holocaust distortion are available in ANNEX (annex is currently work in progress) 

Materials

lesson plan

Training Outline

reading

Key forms of manifestation of Holocaust Distortion

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