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Countering antisemitism through Holocaust education. A comparative perspective on Scotland and Austria


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There is an emerging debate in the field as to whether or not Holocaust education is effective in combating antisemitism. This paper aims to provide explanations for the frequently observed ineffectiveness of Holocaust education in reducing antisemitism by examining two cases that are in many ways diametrically opposed: Scotland as a former part of the Allied Forces and Austria as a post-Nazi state. The case studies focus on overlapping, contrasting and conflicting understandings of Holocaust education and the role of antisemitism within it. The perspective is primarily sociological, inspired by Critical Theory. Evidence is based on research papers and basic documents from the field of Holocaust education (curricula, websites of key actors and educational materials). It is interpreted according to the principles of qualitative content analysis. Findings suggest that in both cases opportunities to address and reduce antisemitism are being missed: In the Scottish case, the teaching of the Holocaust tends to downplay the specific Jewish experience and largely fails to address antisemitism, or does so in a very simplistic way. In the Austrian case, antisemitism is talked about, but in the context of widespread secondary antisemitism it risks being explained and understood in ways that are themselves antisemitic.



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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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Rajal, Elke Countering antisemitism through Holocaust education. A comparative perspective on Scotland and Austria. Educational Review. 2024:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1080/00131911.2024.2325068