This fall, HKHTC was proud to sponsor a number of Holocaust-themed films as part of the 18th Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival. They were shown at local and international schools as well as universities around Hong Kong. These films helped students gain a deeper understanding of the issues that arise from the Holocaust. Public screenings were also arranged during the festival. They all took place at Asia Society Hong Kong Center.
The June 2017 issue of Jewish Times Asia has published a front page story of our Holocaust survivor guest Mr Henry Friedman’s visit in HK and Dongguan, where the Courage Conference 2017 took place in late May.
In May 2017, Simon Li, (HKHTC Director of Education and Anne Frank House’s Visiting Educator), Ephraim Kaye (Yad Vashem’s Director of International Seminars for Educators) and Glenn Timmermans (University of Macau’s Professor and HKHTC Board Director) travelled to China to present several workshops at the International School of Dongguan (ISD) for teachers and educators in the region and neighbouring
HKHTC’s workshops for the local and expatriate teachers in the Guangdong Province include: “How to Teach the Holocaust: Victims,
Perpetrators, Bystanders”, “The Decision to Kill the Jews: The Final Solution and its Implementation”, “The History of Antisemitism”, as
well as “Confronting the Phenomenon of Holocaust Denial: A Workshop”. In our workshop series in early May, there were more than 30 educators who took part in our Teacher Training Workshops. Then in our subsequent follow-up workshop series in late May, the number of
educator participants rose to around 60. The school has invited HKHTC to return to Dongguan next year again for more Teacher Training
Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, is observed every year. It is a day of commemoration of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany. On April 24, HKHTC was honored to host the annual Yom Hashoah ceremony, which was held at the Jewish Community Centre, in remembrance of the millions of Jewish lives that perished in the Holocaust.
This year’s theme was “Never Again”. Members from all of Hong Kong’s Jewish congregations were represented.In addition, representatives from many consulates joined the evening’s gathering and other multi-faith leaders.In attendance was Sagi Karni, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong, who gave an address. Opening remarks were read by Glen Steinman, HKHTC Director. The evening programme included a moving and graphic video documentary entitled Sgt. Howard Cwick, Jewish Liberator: Eyewitness to History.
In April 2017, secondary students from Yew Chung International School (YCIS) came to the HKHTC resource centre to participate in a workshop delivered by Director of Education Simon Li on the Auschwitz concentration camp. This workshop was aimed to prepare the student actors and actresses prior to their performance of the “Auschwitz Lullaby”. The school later shared with HKHTC that the school play was a big success.
HKHTC continues to broaden its reach. HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li has served as a visiting educator at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam this spring. During his academic visit, Mr Li and the in-house educators at the Anne Frank House have been exchanging scholarly ideas related to approaches to teaching Anne Frank’s diary in Asia and the pedagogy of Holocaust education.
“Since the days when I was a senior lecturer in academia, I’ve strived to teach tolerance and mutual respect through the inspiring story of Anne Frank,” Mr Li said. “I find this opportunity to share ideas about an important topic I’ve taught in East Asia for my entire academic life truly exciting.” An award-winning former journalist from Toronto, Mr Li served as the Head of General Education at a tertiary institute in Hong Kong before being appointed by HKHTC as its Director of Education in 2016. Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank.
The Joods Kindermonument is a children memorial site in Rotterdam which commemorates the deaths of 686 Jewish children who were killed by the Nazis. In Spring 2017, Director of Education Simon Li (Visiting Educator, Anne Frank House) visited the Joods Kindermonument and paid tribute to the children victims who ranged from only a few months to 12 years old. Most of them did not survive the war.
Holocaust survivor Micha Gelber, who was HKHTC’s in-house guest this January, was one of the key leaders behind this project to build a monument to commemorate these children. This monument also includes an artwork with the names of the 686 Jewish children who perished and indicates which concentration camp they were sent to.
In May 2017, HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li and the Director of the Humanity House Ms Lisette Mattaar had a fruitful meeting in The Hague to discuss peace education in East Asia and the prospects of collaboration on multiple educational projects between HKHTC and the Humanity House.
The Humanity House is a museum that was founded in 2010 that provides a unique experience for visitors to explore what it’s like to live through a conflict or disaster as well as prominent related themes through contemporary exhibitions. In addition, the museum provides various educational programmes as well as public lectures and discussions to raise awareness on the importance of humanitarian themes which include but are not limited to the freedom of speech, security of food and human rights. The museum also acts as a platform for organisations, agencies and individuals to discuss and debate on humanitarian themes.
On June 22, Director of Education Simon Li was invited by Nord Anglia International School to deliver two workshops on the Holocaust towards all Year 9 students. The workshops examined the Holocaust through its victims, perpetrators and bystanders. The sessions also shed light on the rescuers in the Holocaust, while sharing with students how one person can make a difference and have a substantive impact on the lives of many.