2012 Workshop

Executive Summary:
“Mass Atrocity Education Workshop: Teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide” 

Dr. David Frey
Associate Professor of History Director
Center for Holocaust and Genocide
Studies at West Point 

Ms. Gretchen Skidmore
Director, Civic and Defense Initiatives
National Institute for Holocaust Education
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 

West Point’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS), in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), conducted the second iteration of an innovative “Mass Atrocity Education Workshop: Teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide.” The purpose of the workshop, which took place between 29 May and 1 June 2012, in Washington, DC, is to help USMA, USNA, and USAFA better incorporate learning about the Holocaust and subsequent genocide and mass atrocity into their respective curricula. 
This collaboration, conceived of by Dr. David Frey of West Point and Ms. Gretchen Skidmore of the USHMM, gathered a group of West Point, Navy and Air Force faculty from five different departments, renowned Holocaust and genocide scholars, staff and experts from Museum, and a representative from the Army War College, the Marine Corps University, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The three-day program included a tour of the Museum’s exhibits, discussions with experts, a discussion with a Holocaust survivor, and time for practical course planning intended to further the incorporation of the Holocaust and genocide content into the learning experiences of cadets and midshipmen. The program’s small size was designed to produce an intense, intimate, and productive environment conducive to creative thinking as well as the development of collaborative relationships that will continue throughout the academic year. The workshop, recently cited in the “Fact Sheet” released in conjunction with President Obama’s announcement of the creation of an Atrocity Prevention Board, has the following specific goals: 

  1. To further understanding of the Holocaust and genocide with particular emphasis on the roles of the military; 

  2. To empower participants with the competencies (knowledge and skills) to develop accurate and meaningful lessons on the Holocaust and/or genocide to be incorporated into existing curricula at the United States service academies; 
  3. To clarify the value of the Holocaust and genocide content in training future military officers; 
  4. To build awareness of genocide and mass atrocity and current efforts to enhance the world’s ability to prevent and respond to genocide today; and 
  5. To enhance the relationships between and build networks of faculty from the USMA, the USNA, the USAFA, genocide scholars, and Museum staff; 
  6. To contribute to the development of the Department of Defense’s readiness to develop further training and doctrine related to atrocity prevention. 

Photography credits – Miriam Lomaskin, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/National Institute for Holocaust Education
(Please contact Miriam Lomaskin, mlomaskin@ushmm.org, x759 should you wish to use these photographs)