Guatemala government joins with Jewish community, educators to teach the Shoah

Marcus Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The Guatemalan government partnered with the local Jewish community to launch an educational project to study the Holocaust.

Another aim of the project is to promote the values ​​of tolerance and respect, reported La Hora newspaper on Tuesday.

“Studying the Holocaust allows young people to see the tragic consequences of currents and movements. It also allows strengthening the values ​​of tolerance and respect,” said Yehudi Sabbagh, president of the Comunidad Judia de Guatemala, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization.

Several Jewish and governmental officials attended the project’s inauguration event, including Education Minister Oscar Hugo Lopez and the Israeli ambassador to Guatemala, Moshe Bachar.

“The platform presents the real suffering that the Holocaust caused to the Jewish people, an important reference for Guatemalans not to let it be repeated,” Lopez said. “What has happened can help Guatemalans to accept cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity,” he added, also recognizing that racism and discrimination “still exist in Guatemalan society.”

The initiative led by Ministry of Education and the local Jewish community intends to promote the values ​​of tolerance and respect and to provide teachers with both content and tools for their didactic practices.

The pedagogical project consists of studies on the Holocaust including research, lessons, articles and testimonies in the historical and educational field. The curriculum, which begins with students in third grade, has been planned since 2015, ministry officials reported.

In November, Guatemala’s president Jimmy Morales was welcomed in Israel by government officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and the Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, all of whom thanked the country for its pivotal role in the creation of the Jewish state.

Guatemala is home to about 1,000 Jews out of a population of 15 million.