The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) is a place of memory, education and lessons for humanity. It explores the history of genocide in the 20th century with a focus on the case studies of the Holocaust and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It examines the connections between genocide and contemporary human rights issues, urging visitors to understand the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and othering, so as to prevent the recurrence of mass atrocities and genocide in all its forms. The Centre focuses on human rights issues such as prejudice, racism, ‘othering’, antisemitism, homophobia and xenophobia. Conscious of the dangers of indifference, apathy and silence, the JHGC urges its visitors to be an active voice against instances of hate speech and related human rights violations in their own communities.
The JHGC was founded in 2008 and officially opened to the public in March 2019 as a public-private partnership with the City of Johannesburg. The JHGC, together with its sister Centres in Cape Town and Durban, forms part of the association, the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation.
In 2007, the study of “Nazi Germany and the Holocaust” and “Ideas of Race in the 19th and 20th Centuries” was incorporated into the National High School Curriculum of South Africa for Grade 9 Social Sciences and Grade 11 History learners. The JHGC assists provincial education departments, schools and educators with these human rights modules by facilitating comprehensive and engaging educator training and learner workshops.
The JHGC also hosts regular public events and programmes, including temporary exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, commemorations and other special workshops, which explore various topics related to genocide and human rights. Through its “Change Makers Programme”, the JHGC also launched its education philosophy and resources in 12 countries in Africa.