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Teaching and learning about National Socialism and the Holocaust

The Holocaust Education Institute of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research _erinnern.at_(in German only) supports learning and teaching about National Socialism and the Holocaust in the Austrian education system, thereby promoting a proper consideration of this period in Austrian schools.

_erinnern.at_ – the Holocaust Education Institute of the BMBWF

_erinnern.at_ is a nationally and internationally active institution that focuses on telling the history of National Socialism and the Holocaust and on preventing antisemitism and racism. The work of _erinnern.at_ takes place on three levels: 

  • At regional level, the local networks of _erinnern.at_ work in the individual federal states. The network coordinators are easily accessible contacts for teachers and regional education projects in political history. 
  • At national level, _erinnern.at_ offers a variety of continuing professional development opportunities courses for teachers and also acts as a discussion forum for active remembrance. The learning materials developed by _erinnern.at_ and the youth reference series "National Socialism in the Austrian Federal States" are used in all federal states. 
  • At international level, _erinnern.at_ offers seminars in Israel in co-operation with Yad Vashem, has good visibility thanks to partnerships with international organisations such as UNESCO, the OSCE and the IHRA, and cooperates bilaterally with numerous partner institutions. 

Current programmes offered by _erinnern.at_: 

  • Continuing professional development and training programmes as well as seminars for Austrian teachers
  • Preparation of teaching and learning materials created in accordance with the latest developments in media education, with an increasing focus on new media.
  • Tours, exhibitions etc.
  • Information about cultural memory and educational activities can be found on the website _erinnern.at_(in German only) 
  • International partnerships

Continuing professional development (CPD) and training programmes

Two-week CPD programmes for Austrian teachers have been held at the International School for Holocaust Studies Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel since 2000. These programmes offer participants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the latest research and to address the Israeli narrative of the Holocaust. After attending the seminar, participants act as multipliers, passing on the knowledge they have acquired in their own working environments. Up to 50 participants annually.

CPD events are held in all federal states, some of which are organised in collaboration with university colleges of teacher education and other partners. In addition, _erinnern.at_ holds two major CPD events each year. 

A Central Seminar takes place each November and is the largest CPD event for teachers on the subject of the Holocaust, National Socialism and antisemitism. The seminar is held in a different federal state each year and the history of its host location is also examined. Lectures, workshops, excursions and presentations of learning materials offer a wealth of teaching ideas and support.

The annual Eye Witness Seminar provides teachers with an unforgettable encounter with contemporary witnesses who report on their experiences of persecution during the time of National Socialism. A separate part of the seminar deals with educational issues around encounters between contemporary witnesses and young people. 

In addition, _erinnern.at_ has a small team of individuals qualified to accompany and supervise visits by contemporary eye witnesses to Austrian schools.

Selection of teaching and learning materials

Digital teaching and learning materials

Learning app: ‘Fliehen vor dem Holocaust.Meine Begegnung mit Geflüchteten’ (Fleeing from the Holocaust. My encounters with survivors who fled, in German only)
This app brings young people into contact with five survivors who had to flee the Holocaust.

‘Fluchtpunkte. Bewegte Lebensgeschichten zwischen Europa und Nahost’ (‘Flight routes. Stories of survivors who fled from Europe to the Middle East') (in German only) 
Learning materials about the links between the history of Europe and the Middle East.

weiter_erzählen (‘tell it’, in German only)
Online archive of video and audio interviews with victims of National Socialism who have a link to Austria. 

über_leben (‘survival’) (in German only)
The website can be used to prepare for school visits by contemporary eye witnesses and provides a teaching module for each life history. 

Alte neue Heimat (‘Old new homeland’, in German only)
Ten eye-witnesses with roots in Innsbruck tell us about their lives in Austria before 1938 – about persecution and expulsion by the National Socialists, about their flight from Austria and about their lives in England and Israel.

Neue Heimat Israel (‘New homeland Israel’) (in German only)
Thirteen survivors of the Holocaust tell about persecution, fleeing from Austria and their lives in their new homeland of Israel. There are numerous teaching resources on the website. The videos on the website are also on the DVD ‘Neue Heimat Israel’.

This educational website enables school students to watch more than 1500 video interviews with eye-witnesses. It is aimed at secondary and tertiary level students. 

DVD ‘Das Vermächtnis’ (The Legacy)
The DVD contains thirteen selected stories of survivors, which historians, teachers and video experts have prepared for use in school classrooms.

The fate of European Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust 
This educational website offers basic information for school students and teachers about the genocide of the European Sinti and Roma. The website is available in eleven languages. 

Stories that Move 
This interactive website offers five modules for young people to explore the impact of hate speech, exclusion, antisemitism, racism and other forms of discrimination. 

Other teaching and learning materials

Youth reference series ‘Nationalsozialismus in den österreichischen Bundesländern’ (‘National Socialism in the Austrian federal states’, in German only)
This series of reference books is based on the latest research and deals with the main themes of National Socialism in the individual Austrian federal states. 

Anti-racism educational booklet ‘Ein Mensch ist ein Mensch – Rassismus, Antisemitismus und sonst noch was…’ (‘A person is a person – racism, antisemitism and much more ...’, in German only)
This booklet is based on conversations with young people of different origins and religions from Vienna and other federal states and their experiences with antisemitism, racism and homophobia as well as exclusion and prejudice.

‘Wer ist schuld am Tod von Edith Winkler? Völkermord als gesellschaftliche Verantwortung’ (‘Who is responsible for the death of Edith Winkler? Genocide as social responsibility’)
Teaching unit for school students aged 13 and above, based on biographical cards that encourage the reader to consider questions of guilt and complicity. 

Tours, exhibitions etc.

Tours for school classes: ‘Leben und Vertreibung’ (‘Life and Expulsion’) 
On a visit to historical sites in the 2nd district of Vienna, this two-hour tour focuses on Jewish life in Vienna before 1938, social exclusion and persecution as well as the expulsion and deportation of the Jewish population by the National Socialists.

‘darüber sprechen’ (‘talk about it’) touring exhibition
In this touring exhibition, 14 people speak about what they experienced during the Nazi era. Pupils can access 14 video interviews with contemporary eye-witnesses via a QR code. The two copies of the exhibition are used annually by up to 30 schools in Austria. 

The website (in German only)
A high-quality information medium focusing on political and historical education, cultural memory and days of remembrance, as well as on international, national and regional commemoration, learning and research initiatives. The website offers a growing number and variety of learning resources. All teaching materials from _erinnern.at_ can be downloaded free of charge. 

International partnerships 

International networking and partnerships resulting from such networking are of particular importance.

_erinnern.at_ is a partner in many international projects and works with the following organisations: Mémorial de la Shoah/Paris, USC Shoah Foundation Institute/Los Angeles, Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) USA, OSZE/ODIHR, Council of Europe, Anne Frank House/Amsterdam and Anne Frank Zentrum/Berlin, CeDIS FU Berlin, Yad Vashem/Israel, Lohamei Haghetaot/Israel, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), UNESCO, EU and higher education institutions. 

Multilateral organisations

_erinnern.at_ is regularly represented on UNESCO and OSCE expert committees. In 2018, the guide entitled "Addressing Anti-Semitism through Education" was published in collaboration with _erinnern.at_. The guide contains five chapters and presents essential concepts and examples of good practice. 
It also collaborates in a European Commission project to network best practice and to develop a Europe-wide e-learning platform for teachers.

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The educational discussions in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) are particularly important in the international context. The IHRA is an intergovernmental organisation that focuses on the issues of education, research and commemoration of the era of the Holocaust and National Socialism at a political and expert level. The organisation was founded in 1998 by the then Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and its main founding document is the 2000 Stockholm Declaration. 

Austria joined in 2001 and the IHRA now has a total of 31 member states. 

The BMBWF and _erinnern.at_ have been members of the Austrian IHRA delegation from the outset and are particularly involved in the Education Working Group and the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma.

One important outcome of the IHRA consultations is the working definition of antisemitism, which was adopted by Austria in 2017. This definition is a basic reference document for national governments in the fields of justice, police, administration and media. The European Council refers to the IHRA definition in its "declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe".

A similar working definition of the genocide of the Austrian Roma and Sinti is in preparation.



Martina Maschke
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research
Head of the Department of Bilateral Affairs; Holocaust Education – international
Minoritenplatz 5
1010 Vienna
T +43 1 53120 2875

Manfred Wirtitsch
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research
Head of the Department of Basic Issues and Transferable Skills, School Partnerships and All-day Schools
Minoritenplatz 5
1010 Vienna
T +43 1 53120 2540