Education Working Group of the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Research and Remembrance

Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust (Shoah)

Austria, Germany, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States

In general, teaching about the Holocaust should:

These aims can be clearly seen in the following definitions of the Holocaust:

Teaching about the Holocaust can and must be different in various contexts. In order to see the differences between the Holocaust and other genocides, comparisons should be carefully distinguished and similarities also should be articulated.

When teaching about the Holocaust, it is helpful to address three basic questions:

The first question involves issues of rationale. The second question involves selection of information, while the third question deals with appropriate pedagogical approaches based on the student group. These guidelines do not address the first and third questions. These questions will be addressed in other guidelines.

In addition to history, the Holocaust can also be approached through other disciplines, such as literature, psychology, religious studies, and others.

As national and local commemorative activities are seen to be of value, it is advised to provide educational support to such activities.

The study of the Holocaust must be examined within the context of European history as a whole. We encourage educators to also examine the local context for this history. Educators should provide context for the events of the Holocaust by including information about:

As for the historical themes or topics connected with teaching about the Holocaust, educators might examine the following, among others, when constructing lessons on the Holocaust. As they do so, they may consider this history from the perspectives of the:




The purpose of these guidelines is to strengthen teaching about the Holocaust. The teaching will be different from country to country, from school to school, and from time to time. Therefore, it is understood that it is important to stress the need for self-evaluation of teaching efforts by all educators.