Conference on the Holocaust considers contemporary perspective

The Mark and Gail Appel Program in Holocaust and Antiracism Education at York will present an international conference next month on the Holocaust and antisemitism from a contemporary perspective. The conference is open to the public and admission is free.

Titled "Difficult History, Diverse Audiences: The Holocaust & Antisemitism in Contemporary Perspective", the conference is divided into two sessions over two days, Feb. 9-10. It will explore ways to identify and counter antisemitism as well as other forms of racism through teaching and is part of a 10-day symposium for future teachers from Canada, Germany and Poland who are participating in the Mark and Gail Program in Holocaust and Antiracism Education. Both sessions will take place in the Founders College Assembly Hall, Keele campus.

The first session is on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 8pm. History professor David Cesarani, OBE, a history professor at Royal Holloway at the University of London, England, will give a lecture entitled "If It’s So Bad, How Come It’s So Good? Antisemitism in Britain and Europe Today".

Right: David Cesarani

The Order of the British Empire, or OBE, was awarded to Cesarani in 2005 for his services to Holocaust education and for advising the government with regard to the establishment of a Holocaust Memorial Day. He is currently a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and a winner of the 2006 Jewish Book Council of America National Jewish Book Award in History.

Cesarani was a delegate to the International Task Force for Intergovernmental Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. He also acted as historical consultant for two TV documentaries: ‘‘Nuremberg: Goering’s Last Stand’’ in 2006 and ‘‘Auschwitz: the Nazis and the Final Solution’’ in 2005.

The second session takes place on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2pm. It will consist of a panel discussion on "Holocaust Education in Multicultural Settings". Cesarani will speak about "Teaching London Inner-City Students", while York alumna Jennifer Gerwlivch, an English teacher at Father McGivney Catholic Academy in Aurora, Ont., will talk about "Teaching Catholic High School Students in Ontario". The third panelist, Elke Gryglewski, a senior educator at the House of Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational Centre in Berlin, Germany, will discuss "Teaching Young Germans of Palestinian Heritage".

The Mark and Gail Appel Program brings future educators from Canada, Germany and Poland together to study the past, to teach towards a better future. The program is a joint initiative of the Centre for Jewish Studies and the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York.

The program is supported by the Gail and Mark Appel, the Baden-Württemberg Office for Civic Education and Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, the Hertie-Foundation in Frankfurt, Germany, the foreign ministries of Canada, Germany and Poland, the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland and others.

For more information, contact Cornelia Lahmann at or call 416-736-5695. To learn more about the Mark and Gail Appel Program, click here.