Civil society organisations in Sweden are taking on the challenge of helping students and teachers learn about the Holocaust and fight antisemitism.
In Stockholm’s, the Living History Forum museum welcomes thousands every year. Here the aim is to foster understanding by appealing to people’s compassion and touching their hearts, rather than giving lessons in morality.
“Last year I had a wonderful exchange with three young Muslim girls about Anne Frank,” says historian Ingrid Lomfors, “they knew nothing about Anne Frank. They walked through the exhibit, and then at the end two of them told me they identified with her, because of the isolation, the constant threats, the persecution, not knowing if they’d be alive the next day.”
In Malmö, Imam Salahuddin Bakarat and Rabbi Moshe-David HaCohen have together founded the Amanah project aimed at building bridges between their two communities through festivals, workshops and lectures.
Despite online threats, the organisation Young People Against Antisemitism and Xenophobia organises seminars in schools, group talks and study visits to former concentration camps to raise young people’s awareness of the horrors of the mass killing of Jews during World War II and the need for peaceful co-existence.
The challenge in Sweden is rendered even more difficult by urban segregation, with large numbers of immigrant youths concentrated in the same neighbourhoods and schools.