At the end of World War I, following the Versailles treaties, France used its colonial army (les tirailleurs sénégalais) to occupy the Rhineland. That decision was executed from Dakar which was at that time the capital of French colonial West Africa.  

Hitler later used the occupation of the Rhineland by African soldiers as a tool to justify and promote his hatred for Blacks and Jews. He called children from mixed Black-German parents the “Bastards of Rhineland”. He also accused Jews of being responsible for bringing African soldiers into the Rhineland. 

The tirailleurs sénégalais also fought for France during World War II. Some of them were among the victims at Buchenwald and Dresden. Others were captured and sent to prison camps. One of these prisoners became the first President of Senegal: Leopold Sedar Senghor.

Despite all these historical connections, Holocaust education is at its infancy in the West African country. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was started in 2011 in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Dakar, UNESCO, and the UN Information Bureau in Dakar. 



GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES ON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: Country updates 2014, published ahead of the Salzburg Global Seminar session Holocaust and Genocide Education: Sharing Experience Across Borders

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Alioune Deme, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Enseignant, created a long-term partnership between his university, the UNESCO high school network, the UN Information Bureau, and the Embassy of Israel. 

In January 2019, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Deme and Armin Osmanovic, also a Salzburg Global Fellow, took part in a film screening and discussion about the Warsaw Ghetto Archive.

UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), the Senegalese National Commission for UNESCO, the UN Information Centre (UNIC), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) held a film screening of “Who Will Write Our History” on 26 January 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.