We condemn emphatically the cruel and murderous attacks and abductions of innocent civilians by Hamas in Israel on 7 October. This has evoked shock and anger given the immense trauma that the Jewish people have suffered historically.
The response, like all wars, has the devastating consequence that innocent civilians (both in Israel and Gaza) are caught in the crossfire of the conflict. In the region, whole communities, are being torn apart and displaced in an ongoing and escalating humanitarian tragedy in scenes which are playing out in all the media across the world.
The JHGC honours the memory of the victims of genocides in the 20th century and teaches about the consequences of prejudice and hate speech so as to prevent the recurrence of mass atrocities and genocide in all its forms. We note with deep concern the unprecedented surge in antisemitism around the world the likes of which has not been seen in the 21st century. We are equally concerned about the dangers of rising Islamophobia. History and our shared humanity teaches us that there is no place for hatred or discrimination of any kind and calls for our compassion for all victims. In the words of Auschwitz survivor William Schiff: “You kill yourself when you hate. It’s the worst disease in the world.”
The significance of this moment and the need for our collective vigilance against hate speech, othering and dehumanisation should not be missed. Conscious of the dangers of indifference, apathy and silence, the Centre calls on all of us to be an active voice against instances of hate speech and related human rights violations in our own communities. Our failure in this regard risks generational trauma and damage beyond the physical boundaries of the conflict.
– JHGC Board of Trustees
The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre
The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre is a place of memory, education and lessons for humanity. The JHGC explores the history of genocide in the 20th century with a focus on the case studies of the Holocaust and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It examines the connections between genocide and contemporary human rights issues, urging visitors to understand the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and othering, so as to prevent the recurrence of mass atrocities and genocide in all its forms.
The JHGC was founded in 2008 and officially opened to the public in March 2019 as a public-private partnership with the City of Johannesburg. The JHGC, together with its sister Centres in Cape Town and Durban, forms part of the association, the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation.
Learn more about the activities of the Centre by downloading our brochure.
The JHGC honours the memory of the victims of genocide in the 20th century and teaches about the consequences of prejudice and hate speech so as to prevent the recurrence of mass atrocities and genocide in all its forms.
The JHGC serves as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As a centre of memory, education, dialogue and lessons for humanity, the JHGC focuses on human rights issues such as prejudice, racism, ‘othering’, antisemitism, homophobia and xenophobia. Conscious of the dangers of indifference, apathy and silence, the JHGC urges its visitors to be an active voice against instances of hate speech and related human rights violations in their own communities.
Educational and Public Programmes
In 2007, the study of “Nazi Germany and the Holocaust” and “Ideas of Race in the 19th and 20th Centuries” was incorporated into the National High School Curriculum of South Africa for Grade 9 Social Sciences and Grade 11 History learners. The JHGC assists provincial education departments, schools and educators with these human rights modules by facilitating comprehensive and engaging educator training and learner workshops.
Educational programmes are run by our passionate and knowledgeable facilitators and volunteers, making use of permanent and temporary exhibitions, survivor testimony, multimedia and interactive activities. By using the history of the Holocaust and 20th century genocide as an entry point, participants are then able to explore more contemporary themes such as moral choices, human rights and social activism.
The JHGC also hosts regular public events and programmes, including temporary exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, commemorations and other special workshops, which explore various topics related to genocide and human rights.