Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador Blog

The theme of the Ambassador Conference 2021 (AmCon) was #ProtectTheFacts, supporting the global campaign and international initiative of the European Commission, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the United Nations, and UNESCO, who have joined forces to raise awareness of Holocaust distortion, both how to recognise it and how to counter it. Distortion is a dangerous assault on the memory of the Holocaust. During AmCon, we learnt about the different forms of distortion and how we can #ProtectTheFacts. It is crucial that we act now to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for future generations.

Ambassador Zoe, shared her reflections on this year's AmCon below:

Holocaust survivor Marcel Ladenheim BEM

In a coffee morning with Holocaust survivor Marcel Ladenheim BEM, myself and fellow Ambassadors were able to ask him about his experiences as a survivor, with distortion and denial of the Holocaust. Looking back, it makes me think, how could one truly deny or distort the Holocaust given the amount of people, the number of fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, each with their own individual lives and stories, who were murdered for no reason other than the fact they were Jewish. It was no myth.

Martin Winstone

Marcel, and many of the other speakers at AmCon provided brilliant, well-rounded and inspiring sessions for Ambassadors like me. The workshop by Martin Winstone, Senior Historical Advisor for the Holocaust Educational Trust, showed me just how relevant distortion and denial of the Holocaust are today, especially given the circumstances of the past year. The pandemic led to social media posts comparing the restrictions implemented by the government to the Holocaust and protesters have been wearing Yellow Stars of David, comparing mask mandates and vaccine programmes to the Nuremberg laws. Martin highlighted social media posts and what effect these could have on those who do not know enough about the Holocaust to understand just how damaging it is to compare it to the pandemic. These comparisons degrade the lessons we must learn from the Holocaust and the memory of the victims.

Here are some quotes from Ambassadors summing AmCon 2021 up in just one sentence:

“AmCon allowed me to have conversations I would not have had otherwise, and for that, it is truly special.”

“AmCon2021 provided a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Holocaust, its impact on society, and the challenges we continue to face today, whilst reminding me that I’m part of a community of young people dedicated to remembering and honouring the victims.”

“Hearing from both academics and victims of antisemitism at AmCon 2021 has made me feel like such a valuable member of the community.”

“It made me feel like I was an important part of a bigger picture, and that I had more I could be doing to help spread the message myself.”

The Ambassador Conference 2021: Summer Series #ProtectTheFacts was an unforgettable experience, where over 200 Ambassadors joined together virtually to learn about the dangers of Holocaust distortion. I can definitely say that I feel much more equipped in my role as an Ambassador to identify and tackle Holocaust distortion whenever and wherever I encounter it. A huge thank you to the Trust for the brilliant series and I am already excited for next year’s conference!

By Zoe Porter and Jack Thurlow