Annual Update 2023-24

For an organisation that is dedicated to Holocaust and tolerance education, the world since 7 October 2023 poses immediate and significant challenges. After all, it is the mission of the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre to inform, to bring communities together, to raise awareness and to break the barriers of ignorance that so frequently lead different peoples down the path of hate, suspicion and violence.

We are committed to using the only tool at our disposal – education – to build knowledge, empathy and respect among different communities.

Education is a complex long-term endeavour. Never has the need for Holocaust and tolerance education been as crucial as now. Hong Kong has a long and distinguished history of welcoming different communities from all around the world. All of our educational projects and programmes are geared towards making Hong Kong a place where people learn and know about each other and where they actively confront intolerance, discrimination and racism. ,,

It is incumbent on us all to make a difference and we are determined to persevere and double down in our efforts to push back against antisemitism, hate and the banalisation or outright denial of the Holocaust. To do all this and more – and keep doing it in the years to come – we depend entirely on the goodwill, passion and generosity of our donors.

For 2024, our most urgent priority is to roll out dedicated tolerance workshops in schools and community organisations to push back against the dangerous wave of antisemitism.

Through our engagements we reach thousands of students who would otherwise have little or no exposure to the subject matter of the Holocaust, antisemitism and intolerance. We work closely with an ever growing network of local and international schools and local organisations (church groups, community organisations, cultural institutes) to support their curricula and deepen learning experiences on tolerance, antisemitism and the Shoah.

Here are some highlights of our programmes and activities:

  • In January, we hosted Mr Peter Gaspar who survived the Holocaust as a child. Throughout his 12 day visit to Hong Kong and Macao, Mr Gaspar spoke at over a dozen schools, universities and organisations in Hong Kong – such as St Stephen’s College, South Island School, Malvern College, Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School, German Swiss International School, and the Asia Society HK Center – to huge audiences of different age groups, backgrounds and faiths. His talks were attended by seversal thousand students. He was the keynote speaker at our annual UN Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration held on 25 January at Tai Kwun.


  • Through our partnership with Yad Vashem, we are conducting workshops and seminars that bring together tertiary students from the Hong Kong, Macao and China with students in Japan and Malaysia. We are also hosting the ‘Art in the Holocaust’ exhibition developed from artwork of Yad Vashem’s archive which has already been shown at the University of Hong Kong, United Christian College (East Kowloon) and Elsa High School. For the first time since the pandemic, our Executive Director Simon Li took a local community delegation on a tour to Israel for an on-site visit and educational programming at Yad Vashem, the Ghetto Fighters Museum and Jerusalem’s brand-new Museum of Tolerance. They returned a week before the 7 October 2023 attack.


  • Together with the USC Shoah Foundation we are bringing eye-opening AI and VR technology to Hong Kong. This makes it possible to engage with survivor testimony in an interactive and personal way. Students can compare and contrast different survivor testimonies, conduct independent research on individual profiles and explore the diverse backgrounds of families whose lives were destroyed in the Shoah. We are developing educational resources in Chinese and also have survivor testimony from the Nanjing massacre and other genocides for classroom use.


  • We continue to host live sessions at schools with Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, a survivor from Poland who was the keynote speaker at last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration. Mr Gutter has joined a number of school, university and community gatherings from his home in Canada, sharing his story and answering questions directly from students. Simon Li, was able to meet Pinchas in Toronto in August and thank him in person for all the countless events he participated in.


  • We are partnering with the Azrieli Foundation – the leading Holocaust organisation in Canada – to bring new learning resources to Hong Kong. We are also working with the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands to organise virtual museum tours featuring specialist guides, thereby making of one the most iconic Holocaust memorial sites accessible to our audiences here in East Asia.


  • We are engaging members of our local Jewish community to record and share their family histories of survival and persecution during the Shoah. This is the hallmark of our ‘Next Generation’ project which seeks to involve the second and third generation of Holocaust survivors in broader educational activities. Given the challenge of arranging in-person visits by survivors – which we are looking forward to resume – this form of experiencing eyewitness accounts is a powerful pedagogical tool.


  • We collaborate with the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival to bring Holocaust-themed films to schools and universities in Hong Kong.


  • We tackle instances of antisemitism in Hong Kong that get reported to us. The follow-up may not always be publicly visible but it is striking how easily antisemitic prejudice and stereotypes spread, especially online. Our follow-up is crucial because antisemitism has no place in our city.


  • We will also expand our educational programming by launching a digital resource and archive website on iWitness that contains extensive material in Chinese – a crucial move that is necessary to further develop our role as the leading Holocaust and tolerance education centre in East Asia.


We are indebted to you for your generosity and interest and we hope to continue to count on you as we develop Asia’s leading Holocaust and tolerance organisation.


Yours sincerely,

Dr Roland Vogt