Auschwitz foundation launches 'Indifference Challenge' to help tackle racism

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  • The Auschwitz Pledge Foundation has launched a grant programme that will reward projects tackling racism, anti-Semitism and other discrimination. 
  • Its chairperson argues that the Holocaust began with "seemingly inconspicuous" forms of discrimination.
  • Grants of up to 30 000 euros (over R512 000) are offered to projects "fighting indifference" to racism and other forms of discrimination. 


The Auschwitz Pledge Foundation on Wednesday launched a grant programme called "The Indifference Challenge" that will reward projects tackling racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.

The launch comes on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — a date that has become Holocaust Memorial Day.

"What culminated in the Holocaust began with seemingly inconspicuous forms of discrimination," Piotr Cywinski, head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and chairman of the Auschwitz Pledge Foundation, said in a statement.

"The hard truth is — bystanders facilitate discrimination and that is exactly what hatred needs to grow," he said. He added that the problem "is present here and now, and it will only get worse if we don't act".

"The education system, media environment,and popular culture fail to teach about the dangers of indifference to casual discrimination. We want to change this," he added.

The Indifference Challenge offers grants of up to 30 000 euros (over R512 000) to projects for "fighting indifference" to racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny, as well as discrimination against migrants and LGBTQ people.

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany's genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom died at the camp between 1940 and 1945 along with more than 100 000 non-Jews.

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