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Prof. Marc van Berkel appointed Honorary Consul of the Auschwitz Memorial in the Netherlands


Prof. Dr. Marc van Berkel has been appointed Honorary Consul of the Auschwitz Memorial in the Netherlands. He will support the actions undertaken by the Diplomacy of Remembrance of the Auschwitz Museum in this country.

The appointment was presented to him by the Museum director, Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, during the conference "Auschwitz-Birkenau in the 21st Century: Preserving Heritage in the Digital Era," held on March 21 at Radboud University in Nijmegen.


Photo: Julian...
Photo: Julian...
Photo: Julian...
Photo: Julian...

Dr. Piotr Cywiński emphasized that ‘The maturity of our memory can be measured in one way: namely, how much it stimulates our own moral concern.’

Directly referring to the appointment of the new Honorary Consul in the Netherlands, he said: ‘Memory has a local dimension. It serves dialogue and local cohesion, especially in today's increasingly divided societies.’

In his address, Prof. Marc van Berkel noted that Holocaust education is in a state of continuous evolution: ‘As new generations grow up and the temporal distance to the Holocaust increases, it is important to constantly rethink the didactic and pedagogical principles of Holocaust education, but not without noting that the Holocaust should primarily be understood in terms of the unique historical factors that made these atrocities possible.’

‘Recognizing and combating antisemitism remains a priority, but it is also important that young people learn that persecution and genocide start with implosion of democracies, with discrimination, stereotyping, exclusion, and eventually denying civic rights to groups or people. The Holocaust offers us that tragic history from which we can learn,’ he added.

Marc van Berkel began his academic career at Leiden University, where he completed his History degree. He worked as a history teacher in Rostock and Voorburg and has been involved in several research projects. He has been working as a Senior Lecturer in History at HAN University of Applied Sciences’ Education Academy since 2007.

He began his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2012, which resulted in a PhD thesis on fifty years of Holocaust representations in history textbooks in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands.

Van Berkel has led several research projects, including those on students’ knowledge and teaching practices of the Holocaust and World War II in the Netherlands, plus those on the representations of the decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies and the legacy of Srebrenica in history education. He is also a member of the Dutch delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Honorary Consuls of the Auschwitz Memorial operate within the framework of the Diplomacy of Remembrance of the Museum. Its goal is to build a network of individuals engaged in preserving the memory of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz worldwide. The Museum assists them in initiating and implementing various educational and social projects that support our mission and can reach individuals who have never been to the Memorial Site.