|May 31st, 2017||#1|
Sweden launches program to fight Holocaust denial and antisemitism
With surveys showing “lots of Swedish Jews are afraid of showing their Jewishness,” Stockholm has stepped up efforts to teach about the Holocaust as a means of fighting against antisemitism, the director of a government-run program on the issue said.
“The Swedish government is investing a lot of money to combat the phenomenon of antisemitism and Islamophobia,” Ingrid Lomfors, director of the Living History Forum in Sweden added, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post this past week.
“Our task is to teach Holocaust education but also to learn from history– to learn about the Holocaust and to learn from the Holocaust– what lessons can be drawn in terms of how we look at democracy, the risk of populism and racism, how do we find early warnings,” Lomfors said.
Lomfors, a historian who has devoted 30 years to studying about the Holocaust, was in Israel this month seeking information from such institutions as Yad Vashem to help to build the Swedish program.
“I am very happy [the government] gave us this opportunity, but, at the same time, you can also say that, in a way, it is sad that it is needed– it says something about the world in which we live,” Lomfors said.
“Combating antisemitism is something that you have been doing here for quite some time now and learning from the Holocaust,” she said of Israel’s experience in these fields.
“I can see lots of possibilities for collaborations to adapt programs in Israel to Swedish society,” she said. “I also think it is important for Israeli institutions to learn from us, because cooperation is the only way to combat this phenomenon.”
According to Lomfors, the impetus for setting up the Forum over a decade ago was in part a nationwide survey which revealed that Swedes had very limited knowledge of the Holocaust, and that a large number of youths showed signs of Holocaust denial.
“This was really shocking to all of us,” she said, though adding that “at that time, around 20 years ago, we didn’t speak about the Holocaust.”
Another factor behind Sweden’s endeavor was renewed interest and dialogue about the Holocaust due to headlines surrounding Nazi looted art.
Lomfors described the situation in Sweden today as “very complex.”
“On the one hand, you can see a trend that tolerance is increasing– young people today are becoming more and more tolerant and the country, demographically speaking, is becoming more pluralistic,” she said.
“At the same time, you have an increase in racist ideas– hate speech and hate crime– as well as increasing populism.”
“I think there is a rise in antisemitism, and a rise in hate crimes which is true for many minority groups,” Lomfors said.
But she said international surveys suggested antisemitism in Sweden was not as bad as in other European countries.
“Lots of Swedish Jews are afraid of showing their Jewishness,” she said.
According to Lomfors, Holocaust education in Swedish schools is “not enough.”
She thought teachers needed mor
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read full article at source: http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Sweden...emitism-494393