Jasmine Kranat grew up in London, England, and attended a Jewish Day School. For her the Holocaust was humanized and she had a deep connection to survivors, the history, and the impacts of antisemitism. This became further cemented when she was the victim of an antisemitic attack and was physically assaulted on a public bus in 2006. Her attack was related to the second war in Lebanon and a rise in antisemitism that has always seemed to follow events in Israel.
She knew that antisemitism was real and affected people in a material and tangible way. When her family emigrated to Canada, her parents felt that she would not experience antisemitism in Canada. But she quickly learned that antisemitism does exist here, but it takes a different form. It came largely from ignorance and manifested in Jewish jokes and stereotypes. Kranat knew she needed to help.
In 2022, while living in New Brunswick, Kranat founded the Atlantic Canada Holocaust Education Foundation. The goal was to reach out to non-Jewish students and educators and contextualize the Holocaust. In general, students are learning from textbooks and the teacher often has no tools to make the lesson three dimensional.
The result of her efforts was the creation of a travelling exhibit called From Darkness to Light: Remembering the Past, Educating for the Future. This exhibit, which is coming to Ottawa in February with the support of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, brings depth to understanding. It will be on display at Temple Israel specifically for public school educators. The Federation’s Shoah Committee is working with the school boards to reach public school educators and invite them to an educators’ introduction event for this important Holocaust education exhibit.
The exhibit includes a pre- and post-exhibit package of materials for classroom teachers to use before and after the students come to prepare them for the learning. The actual exhibit is divided into five areas and students are given a booklet that chronicles the story of one person through the Holocaust along with reflection questions at the end of each section.
1) History of antisemitism – it didn’t begin or end with the Holocaust
2) Jewish life in Europe prior to the rise of Nazism
3) What is propaganda, specifically Nazi propaganda, with a tie in to modern digital/online antisemitism.
4) The Shoah – Understanding the Final Solution, Ghettos, Concentration and Death Camps, and the Resistance. Testimonies from Jehovah’s Witnesses, LGBTQ+ individuals, and Romani are included in addition to Jewish testimonies.
5) Liberation, the Nuremberg Trials, and the Righteous among the Nations
When the students reach the end of their booklet, they find out what happened to their person. Did they live or did they die? By traveling the exhibit through one person’s story, rather than trying to comprehend the magnitude of “six million”, they can relate to the experience and become a witness, someone who can carry their story on and make sure they are not forgotten.
The exhibit is targeted at students in Grades 8 and above. Some parents have brought younger children, but they should be aware that some images are graphic. With the new Grade 6 Holocaust unit in Ontario, Kranat will be making alterations to the original exhibit to make it appropriate for younger students as well as making a new series of booklets that uses more age-appropriate language.
Thanks to initial funding from the Fredericton Jewish community and further support from the Government of New Brunswick and the Ministry of Education in New Brunswick, over 1600 educators and community members and over 2500 public school students in New Brunswick have been able to experience the exhibit. Her goal is to “Educate away the hate.”
From Darkness to Light: Remembering the Past, Educating for the Future will take place for public school educators on Wednesday February 7 at 7 pm. Registration is required.