“Today, the need for effectively taught and historically accurate Holocaust education is greater than ever. This is true for many reasons central to our lives, and for the future of our children. Though this epochal tragedy occurred in Europe, it is impossible to understand our globalized world today without understanding the basics of Holocaust history and memory. Our shared understanding of the vital importance of Human Rights in the world today flows from the world´s reaction to the Holocaust.” – Paul A. Levine*
This year our initiative “Paul A. Levine Library” is gratefully acknowledging and inviting you to celebrate with us the 25th anniversary since the moment when much was just beginning in Holocaust education, namely, since the publication of a small textbook edition entitled “Tell Ye Your Children; A Book about the Holocaust, 1933- 1945”, that yielded great results, finally turning many minds and consciousnesses around the world.
Dr. Paul A. Levine and Stephane Bruchfeld are co- authors of this internationally renowned, pedagogic book about Holocaust history. This book, which Prof. Yehuda Bauer called then, “The best book on the Holocaust for its length and goals”, was commissioned and first published by the Swedish government in 1998 as part of a nation-wide educational campaign to teach Swedish citizens about the Holocaust.
As indicated by its title, that book was created so that parents, in active discussion with their children, would read about the history and consequences of that genocide. Requested rapidly in hundreds of thousands of copies by parents from many educational backgrounds, this unprecedented success had a significant educational impact in Sweden and internationally. Since 1998, it has been published in 20 languages worldwide and printed in ca. 3 million copies. Most recently, it was translated for Ukraine (2017) and Croatia (2018).
“Tell Ye Your Children…” presents the history of the Holocaust with a linguistic precision and empathetic pedagogic presentation, which made it “useable” for a quite diverse readership. This appreciation was much enhanced by the “encyclopedia-style” format and expert graphics. It is not a publication intended to be read “cover- to-cover” in one sitting, though of course it often is.
Now, for 25 years, when speaking publicly about genocide History & Memory and its corollary, Genocide Prevention, the Holocaust book has been read and used, in Sweden and internationally, by diplomats and government bureaucrats, policymakers and, for instance, trainers of police, and teacher- training schools. We know that all found it suitable for this purpose. Additionally, the book has been used as an effective educational text by professors at universities and teachers from mid-level public school through high school & gymnasium.
Very importantly, the unprecedented success of the Holocaust book became a significant diplomatic success internationally for Sweden´s government. Swedish officials realized the international diplomatic value and impact of having a high-quality pedagogic summary of Holocaust history, produced in Sweden, to hand to colleagues and other officials in a pedagogically attractive format.
Most significantly, that book led directly to the formation in 1999 of what was initially the International Task Force on Holocaust Research, Remembrance and Education. That unprecedented international diplomatic body evolved into IHRA, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Rather fascinatingly, that book´s presentation of scientific history of an often-controversial event in a highly effective pedagogic form encouraged Ministries of Education from diverse nations across Europe to approve its use in their schools.
We are memorizing and inviting you to celebrate with us its 25th anniversary!
IHRA (The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), News, In Memory of Holocaust Scholar Paul Levine, 04.11.2019, https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/news-archive/memory-holocaust-scholar-paul-levine.
Forum För Levande Historia, Om Detta Må Ni Berätta, https://www.levandehistoria.se/material/om-detta-ma-ni-beratta.
Levine, Paul A., Burchfield, Stephane, Tell Ye Your Children. A book about the Holocaust in Europe 1933-1945, The Living History Forum, 1998.
Levine, Paul A. (Editor), The Uppsala Programme for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Uppsala University, 1998-2007, Accomplishments and Goals, The Uppsala University Newsletter, Spring 2007.
*Levine P. A., The Berlin History Education Initiative, Draft Memorandum—February 2018.
Levine, Paul A., 27.05.2019. From Levine’s correspondence.
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