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Recruits study role of municipal officers in murdering German citizens,

By providing recruits with a graphic description of the events of the Holocaust, including the role of municipal officers in murdering German citizens, the educational workshop emphasizes the consequences that may arise when individual rights are ignored.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Baltimore City Police Department announce a new day-long workshop for Baltimore City police recruits to be held at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. In this innovative component of police department training, Holocaust Museum and ADL educators will lead an exhibition tour and workshops on Holocaust history and the role of police in a democratic society. The first session will be held on November 2, 1999, and the program will be repeated several times throughout the year for new recruits.

Holocaust history serves as a reminder to today's police officers of their social role in protecting not only lives and property, but also individual rights. In exposing police recruits to this history, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and ADL can play a significant role in communicating that message. By providing recruits with a graphic description of the events of the Holocaust, including the role of municipal officers in murdering German citizens, the educational workshop emphasizes the consequences that may arise when individual rights are ignored. The Museum experience aims to provide officers with a clear understanding of the impact that extremism and prejudice can have on a society. ADL educators specialize in relating these historical lessons to current civil rights issues.

"While attending the Holocaust Museum, Baltimore's police recruits will gain a greater sense of understanding regarding the tragic history of people victimized based solely on prejudice," notes Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner, Colonel Elbert F. Shirey. "The visit will emphasize the importance of law enforcement officers operating under the democratic principals set forth by the United States of America."

The November 2nd training schedule is as follows: Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the 50 participating recruits receive an orientation about the Holocaust and the Museum. From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., recruits tour the Permanent Exhibition, guided by Museum staff. During lunch, recruits participate in a facilitated discussion led by Museum historians and ADL personnel about the Permanent Exhibition. In the afternoon workshop, held between noon and 2:00 p.m., recruits participate in educational exercises with Museum and ADL personnel. In one exercise, participants receive a personal history of an actual Holocaust-era police or SS member up to the beginning of the Holocaust. After evaluating the influences in a specific person's life, the recruits attempt to extrapolate whether he followed orders to murder civilians and POWs when issued. While many officers obeyed orders, some refused.

In January 1999, Chief Charles H. Ramsey of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department incorporated a Holocaust-related component into that department's training curriculum. Thus far, six recruit classes have participated in the training. Plans are underway to replicate the program with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement training workshop is one of the numerous outreach activities that the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anti-Defamation League conduct both in cooperation with one another and independently.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America's national institution for the documentation, study and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as this country's memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust. The Museum's primary mission is to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy. Since its opening in 1993, the Museum has welcomed more than 13 million visitors.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization in combating antisemitism through programming and services fighting hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

To observe the November 2nd program or interview Holocaust Memorial Museum or Anti-Defamation League educators, or police department participants, please contact the Holocaust Memorial Museum's Department of Media Relations, Andrew Hollinger, (202) 488-6133.

homepage: homepage: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/press/index.utp?content=archive/general/baltpd.htm