UK Schools Speaker Programme
In 1994 Holocaust studies became a compulsory part of the school curriculum. This led the Holocaust and Anti-Racism Department of the London Jewish Cultural Centre to formalise its visiting speaker programme, formerly run on an ad hoc basis. Over the past 14 years the programme has gone from strength to strength, reaching out to schools throughout the country. In 2007-8 alone, Holocaust survivors gave direct testimony to over 18,000 students.
Students were unanimous in the verdict that this was the most important historical experience they had ever had
Vandean School, Kent
We are immensely grateful to the survivors and organisers. We feel privileged to be able to hear their story first hand
Canford School, Dorset
Some 70 Holocaust survivors, not all of whom are Jewish, act as schools speakers for the Holocaust and Anti-Racism Department. They cover the gamut of Holocaust experience: kindertransport, ghettos, hidden children, false passports, slave labour, camps.
All speakers are people with direct experience of the Holocaust. They have been helped in the presentation of their story and in dealing with questions from both pupils and teachers. The Holocaust and Anti-Racism Department makes all their travel arrangements. Supported by a marvellous team of volunteer drivers, the department liaises with the schools, and requests feedback from students and teachers. Speakers give their time voluntarily, but all their travel expenses are met. Some are able to talk more frequently than others; how often they talk, and where, is entirely at each individual's discretion.
..Without the visit the Holocaust would just seem like another history topic. It gave a reality to the subject which it is impossible to convey through textbooks
La Sainte Union School, London
To thank them for their dedication, speakers are invited to take part in a monthly enrichment programme, giving them a chance to get together, share experiences and enjoy events covering a wide range of cultural topics. Interest in the cultural content of these events is always great, as is the opportunity for our speakers to spend time together over coffee and tea afterwards.
Regular classes are also taught in schools and colleges to Sixth formers on Arab-Israel conflict and Facing up to Racism & Prejudice.