The second seminar organized by the Raphael Lemkin Center for Genocide Prevention and the International Center for Education About Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has come to an end.
From 27 to 31 October, lectures took place and most of the audience consisted of representatives of ministries of foreign affairs from several countries, among others: Argentina, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, USA, and Chile.
Among the lecturers included: Dr. Wolf Kaiser of the House of the Wannsee Conference, Prof. Sheri Rosenberg - Director of the Human Rights and Genocide Clinic Yeshiva University, Prof. James Waller from the University of Whitworth, Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey from the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr Piotr Setkiewicz, manager of the Research Department at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Lecture topics included: the definition and history of genocide, the role of the Third Reich’s government and its leaders in the carrying out of the Holocaust, the psychological perspectives of genocide, the role of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in the mass murder of European Jews, and how to prevent and respond to genocide.
Seminars dealing with the phenomena of genocide and its prevention are planned to take place three times per year. Their goal is to sensitize government workers, who have middle management jobs, from all over the world to the problem of genocide, which includes its political, economic, and humanitarian consequences. These seminars are the brainchild, as well as sponsored by, New York philanthropist Fred Schwartz.
This year’s seminar in Oswiecim was funded personally by Fred Schwartz, the founder and president of AIPR, as well as the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the US State Department.
Raphael Lemkin Center for Genocide Prevention was established by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation [AIPR]. It was created to connect the decision-makers of countries around the world who are involved in preventing armed conflict and genocide.
Raphael Lemkin, who the center is named after, was the Jewish Pole, lawyer, and creator of the term “genocide”. During the war, he managed to get to the USA. Adopted in 1948, the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was created largely thanks to his efforts with the international community’s response to the crimes of the Holocaust. Meanwhile, events in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur have shown that after more than 60 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, humanity has not drawn lessons from the crimes of the Second World War.