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Advancing Public Understanding of the Holocaust

Advancing Public Understanding of the Holocaust

The Holocaust Research Institute (HRI) is the leading British research institute on the Holocaust and one of the most prominent in Europe. Its expertise and research have influenced strategic agendas regarding how the Holocaust is reassessed and remembered, particularly how Holocaust history is presented in museums and how Holocaust education is delivered in schools and the media.

Museums and Holocaust Commemoration

Professor Cesarani OBE (1956-2015) was a founding trustee and historical consultant of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT). He was a member of the Holocaust Commission’s 2014 Expert Group on Education set up by the then Prime Minister David Cameron. His expertise contributed to the Commission’s report ‘Britain’s Promise to Remember,’ following which it was announced that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre was to be located in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament. Its design and content are currently at an advanced stage of planning.

Professor Cesarani’s research also fed directly into policy decisions made by the IWM about how to educate its visitors on the Holocaust. His 2016 study Final Solution (link?), was assigned as core reading for people working on the redesign of the IWM’s Holocaust Galleries. Cesarani had been involved in the original design – visited by over 8,000,000 people and would also have been involved in the redesign. Professor Cesarani was awarded an OBE for services to Holocaust education.

Professor Stone chaired the IWM’s Academic Advisory Board for the redesigned Holocaust Galleries (opening 2021) and played an advisory role for the HMDT. His current research project on the International Tracing Service led him to advising on a WHL exhibition entitled A Bitter Road: Britain and the Refugee Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s. Another exhibition co-curated with the WHL, Fate Unknown received its largest visitor numbers to date and was accompanied by lectures, film screenings and dramatic reading of a 1950 BBC radio play.

Impact through the media and education

Professor Cesarani’s research was drawn upon for several television programmes, including Annihilation (an eight-part documentary also released in Germany, France, Belgium and Finland). Cesarani was a frequent contributor to BBC Newsnight and the trailer for the critically acclaimed film Night Will Fall, in which Cesarani was interviewed was broadcast around the world by major networks.

Professor Stone also contributed to a number of TV documentaries including Hitler, The Big Picture, Witnesses of War, Pass Pass Għal Auschwitz, Steps to Auschwitz, and Belsen. He has also been interviewed for several press outlets, including a long interview in Publicó in 2017, Portugal’s most respected newspaper, interviews in Turkish, Hungarian and Italian papers and journals.

Stone’s work is disseminated to the public at large via educational materials such as his document collection on the Holocaust for The National Archives, a standard resource for school pupils and the ‘Genocide in Our Eyes’ booklet produced by schoolchildren from 14 schools. Stone is also academic advisor on a textbook written by UCL’s Centre for Holocaust Education.

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