The Board of Trustees of the South African Holocaust Foundation (formerly known as the Cape Town Holocaust Centre Trust) has appointed a committee to establish a Holocaust centre in Johannesburg.
“Since its inception in August 1999, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre has successfully fulfilled its mission of preserving he memory of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust and teaching about the consequences of unchecked bigotry and discrimination,” said David Susman, chairman of the Board.
“An important recent development has been the introduction of a new national curriculum by the Department of Education, with a strong human rights focus. As of 2007 the History curricula for grades 9 and 11 include the study of ‘Nazi Germany and the Holocaust’.
“However, the majority of educators have little or no knowledge of the subject. This has greatly escalated the demand for the Centre’s education programmes and resources throughout the country. This exponential growth in its national role and function has necessitated the appointment of a committee to establish a Holocaust Centre in Johannesburg.”
Drawing on Cape Town’s considerable experience and utilising the educational materials and resources that have been carefully developed for the South African context, the Johannesburg Holocaust Centre will provide programmes for high school educators and learners in the Gauteng region, as well as North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The Johannesburg Holocaust Centre’s permanent exhibition will be based on the much-acclaimed Cape Town exhibition at the Albow campus.
Although the primary focus will be on high school educators and learners, in line with the mission of the SA Holocaust Foundation, the Centre will conduct programmes for a broad spectrum of South African civil society and will engage in public outreach programmes about the Holocaust, other human rights abuses and contemporary genocides.
The Johannesburg Holocaust Centre will be located on Durham Street, Raedene, and is anticipated to open in early 2009. Members of the committee are Prof Michael Katz (chairman), Gerald Leissner, Sean Melnick, Myra Osrin, Dr Jocelyn Hellig and Wendy Kahn. Tali Nates has been appointed director. Richard Freedman will remain as the director of the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and will also serve as the national director of the South African Holocaust Foundation.
In addition, a Holocaust Resource Centre being established in Durban in association with the Cape Town Holocaust Centre, will open early in 2008.
Founder of the Cape Town Holocaust Centre Myra Osrin says, “These exciting new developments are very gratifying. The Cape Town Holocaust Centre, together with the Johannesburg Holocaust Centre and the Holocaust Resource Centre in Durban, will now be in a position to be able to expand its important work across the country in raising awareness of the universal lessons of the Holocaust and especially in supporting the national school curriculum.”