Three schools postpone Holocaust educational partnership with Anne Frank Trust

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Three schools postpone Holocaust educational partnership with Anne Frank Trust

The unnamed schools cited 'local community tensions' since 7 October for programme withdrawal

Michael Morpurgo with Anne Frank Trust UK ambassadors. 18th January, 2024, London Hilton Park Lane. Pic: Michelle Rosenberg
Michael Morpurgo with Anne Frank Trust UK ambassadors. 18th January, 2024, London Hilton Park Lane. Pic: Michelle Rosenberg

Three schools have postponed educational programmes combating antisemitism and prejudice with the Anne Frank Trust UK owing to “local community tensions” since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The organisation, founded in 1991, empowers nine- to 15-year-olds to challenge all forms of prejudice through the diary of Anne Frank. Its schools programme offers educational outreach in primaries and secondaries across the country.

Students can apply to become Anne Frank ‘ambassador’ peer educators within their schools and community on completion of the empowering sessions.

The Anne Frank Trust UK would not provide details of the schools in question, but confirmed to Jewish News that they were a mixture of primary and secondary institutions. The news comes ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day this Saturday, 27 January, and just four days after the charity held its annual lunch for 400 supporters in central London.

Holocaust Memorial Day event for secondary school students from the Anne Frank Trust UK, January 2024.

Tim Roberston, chief executive of the Anne Frank Trust UK, told Jewish News: “Since 7 October we have worked in over 180 schools across England and Scotland, reaching over 17,000 young people – and these numbers are up on this period last year. Three schools have postponed our programmes because of local community tensions, but overall we’ve been heartened at how committed schools remain to engaging with our work.

Robertson added that the three schools are “of different types and in different parts of the country” and that the Trust “can see no pattern” in the postponements. The charity reaffirms that its priority is “to maintain a good relationship with each school so that we can get our programme re-booked as soon as possible”.

The diary of Anne Frank. Found in the collection of Anne Frank House Museum, Amsterdam.

He continues: “We work with a very diverse range of young people and on the whole we’ve been strongly impressed by the sensitivity and integrity they have shown in reflecting on Israel-Hamas and the surge in antisemitism here in Britain.

“We haven’t found it necessary to make any substantial changes in our curriculum, but we’ve provided extra training and support for our staff, and we are putting more emphasis on some key elements of Anne Frank’s story – like the way her sister Margot longed to move to what was then British Palestine, and the fact that Anne’s best friend Hannah Goslar rebuilt her life in Israel after surviving Bergen Belsen.”

Holocaust Memorial Day event 2024 for the Anne Frank Trust UK

The Anne Frank Trust’s plans for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) include two live online learning events, each focused on the testimony of a Holocaust survivor. Over 9,000 young people from 73 schools are already booked to attend.

Tim Roberston added: “HMD is an invaluable catalyst for uniting people and places in commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides. The surge in anti-Jewish hatred since 7 October may pose a threat to this unity, but it also redoubles our motivation to honour the 6 million and build a world free from antisemitism. All of us at the Anne Frank Trust are determined that HMD 2024 will be as moving, educational and unifying as ever.”

The Anne Frank Trust reached 41,433 young people in 2021, working in 135 schools, with 8,327 workshop participants. The organisation trained 1,769 peer guides and 234 Anne Frank Ambassadors.

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