The Contribution of Monuments to Educating About Holocaust Commemoration in Israel

  •  Ruth Dorot    
  •  Shlomit Ben-Ishay    
  •  Nitza Davidovitch    


“After the death of the last witnesses the memory of the Holocaust must not be left to historians alone, now is the time for works of art” Aharon Appelfeld.

This study focuses on the role and contribution of monuments to educating about Holocaust commemoration in Israel. Holocaust monuments are located throughout Israel, from north to south, and over the years memorial centers have been added, which contain additional monuments commemorating the story of the specific place and/or personal stories. Many of the latter have original displays from the period of the Holocaust and, according to definitions that will be presented below, these too can be defined as “monuments” and their place as a commemorative site. Commemoration of the Holocaust is an important value in the education of the young generation, as a lesson and as a call to always remember that which happened. The educational system has a very significant role in providing instruction on the memory of the Holocaust and it must teach this complex topic using interesting visual means such as monuments, which have a meaningful role in the story of the Holocaust, similar to journals, letters, films, and drawings. The study explores the role of monuments as meaningful, reliable, and historically valid sources of information, which serve as a visual text for Holocaust instruction. This is with the purpose of examining the meaning of monuments as a source of information in learning about the Holocaust.

The research method: Qualitative research based on observations of a case study consisting of an educational program dealing with remembrance based on monuments and on a catalogue of monuments. The catalogue, built specifically for this study, is unique in its scope and categorizes and charts monuments from different locations throughout Israel, providing a venue for educational activities studying the memory of the Holocaust and its commemoration.

The research findings show that there is at present no organized study program encouraging schoolchildren’s visits to monuments in Israel, and these remain abandoned, with no visitors. In many cases they are displayed in open public spaces, and those passing by do not stop to learn their story. Hence, the contribution of the educational program based on the catalogue and on the visit to the monuments will have an effect on all learners, encouraging learning based on experience, i.e., learning outside the classroom. The program blurs the distinction between social classes and sectors and lets each and every student embark on a journey that includes touring, learning, experiencing, and leading.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.