Bystanders – Does it matter?

“The world is too dangerous to live in – not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who stand beside and let them do it.” – Albert Einstein. Physicist and Human Rights Activist

The project “Bystanders – Does it matter?” is one of the pedagogical activities at the Kalmar läns museum, Sweden, October 2013 – April 2014. It consists of a travelling exhibition, educational material, teacher training, and a research component. The concept is produced by The Living History Forum (LHF), a Swedish public authority which, using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point, works with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights. LHF provides Swedish school teachers and pupils in the ages 12 to 19 with an extensive pedagogical material on the Bystander theme. Taking the Holocaust as its point of departure, the aim of the project is to create awareness about the role of the bystander. What does it mean to be a bystander? Why is it that we, as people, do not act but instead remain passive as bystanders? How are we responsible, when we do not intervene in some way?

One might imagine that the ideal would be to take action; that the desire to intervene and change the situation should be the most obvious choice. Yet this is not what most people do and the question is of course why?

So far nearly 1500 learners and adults have taken part in the pedagogical program “Bystanders – Does it matter?” at the Kalmar läns museum.

Comments from participants:

• This was an emotionell experience and very interesting
• We felt and realized the power of peer pressure
• We learnt a lot in an active way

The Living History Forum: