South Korea

South Korea

The Asia group includes India, China, Mongolia, Japan, the Korean peninsula, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Australia and New Zealand, though geographically close, are treated separately because their history as European settler societies has led to unique implications with regard to understandings of the Holocaust .

SOUTH KOREA has also engaged in Holocaust remembrance events. To commemorate the 2012 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 5,000 South Koreans rallied in Seoul to “tell the world that genocide must stop.” The rally, organized by the Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea, linked memory of the Holocaust to human rights violations by the North Korean government.  In March 2013, the Busan Israel Center was established. read more

This Israeli cultural center aims to promote  Holocaust education.  Combined with the work of a robust human rights commission in South Korea that brought a human rights curriculum into schools as well as the historical memory of Japanese atrocities in Korea during World War II, there would appear to be ample opportunity for further awareness of the Holocaust on the southern half of the Korean peninsula.

South Korean Holocaust scholar Ho-Keun Choi has recently argued for the relevance of the Holocaust in Korean history. The “three burdensome memories” of Korean history—Japanese colonial rule from 1910–45 that instituted slave labor as well as sexual slavery for many Korean women, the violence directed at South Korean civilians during the Korean War under “false charges of being communists,” and the human rights violations against those who opposed authoritarian military rule in South Korea until the 1980s—represent atrocities with some analogue in the Nazi atrocities in Europe. Further, the Holocaust, according to Choi, is also significant in viewing the contemporary political situation of North Korea: “Yoduk Concentration Camp and the human rights conditions represented by an increasing number of refugees remind us of Nazi Germany before the Final Solution … . The Holocaust shows clearly what kind of tragedy can occur when sovereignty comes before universal human rights.”


GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES ON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: Trends, Patterns, and Practices,  a publication of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and  the Salzburg Global Seminar, 2013
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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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Survivor of North Korean prison wants world not to repeat Holocaust-era inaction (June 20, 2013)

UNESCO:  Why Teach About the Holocaust?, 2013


Wenise Kim, the University of Sydney, Student, and Researcher

Wenise was working on the manuscript of a book chapter, “The Righteous Outlaw” – a narrative on the case of North Korea in the lens of genocide. Wenise’s chapter offers perspectives on the challenges posed by the UN’s definition of genocide – a theme discussed in the Session. Wenise also had an exhibition planned tentatively for May 2016 at Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin with a Korean-German NGO, KOMO. Wenise also presented at a conference at Yad Vashem, which was attended by over 400 people. 

Eunsim Park 

Eunsim translated Michael Kirby’s letter as well as the 2010 Education Working Group on the Holocaust and Other Genocides into Korean. Eunsim had interns translate Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education: Trends, Patterns, and Practices into Korean. Eunsim taught Holocaust and genocide lessons with elementary school students in South Korea—some of whom were North Korean defectors. 

Ho-Keun Choi, who attended Learning from the Past: Global Perspectives on Holocaust Education in 2012, is looking to establish an Asian network of Holocaust scholars.

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