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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Teaching the Legacy: e-Newsletter for Holocaust Educators
(September, 2005)


Upcoming International Forum
On October 8-11, 2005, the European Department of the International School for Holocaust Studies will host an international forum of experts in the fields of Holocaust education and antisemitism in cooperation with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This forum, sponsored by the ICHEIC Humanitarian Fund and the Asper Foundation, will bring together fifteen experts from twelve European countries, including a representative from the European Standing Conference of History Associations (EUROCLIO), to discuss best practices and practical strategies on promoting Holocaust education as well as combating antisemitism. A book and CD-ROM based on the forum proceedings will be published during 2006.

Upcoming Seminars to be Conducted by the European Department
Italian Teachers’ Seminar: September 5-18, ‏2005
This will be the first seminar of its kind at Yad Vashem in five years and will be held in cooperation with the Italian Foreign Ministry. The group will be comprised of thirty teachers from all over Italy, with the purpose of providing tools for teaching the Holocaust. Beyond introducing Yad Vashem’s pedagogical approach, the seminar will include several workshops and lectures in Italian, with an emphasis on Jewish life in Italy, the rise of Fascism and the Holocaust in Italy.

Seminar for Senior Workers of the Russian Education Ministry Department: September 18 – October 1, 2005
There will be about twenty-five participants in this seminar, all influential senior workers of the Russian Education Ministry. The seminar will be held in cooperation with The Foreign Ministry. The aim of the seminar is to emphasize the importance of teaching the Holocaust to different population sectors, especially in view of the rising tide of antisemitism in modern Russia. In addition, a sizable part of the seminar will focus on a basic knowledge of The History of the People of Israel and Life in The State of Israel today.

Hungarian Teachers’ and Educators’ Seminar: October 26 – November 11, 2005
This will be the first group of its kind from Hungary. Twenty-five participants have registered for this seminar, most of them teachers but some are also school principals. One of the aims of the seminar is to widen and intensify local school activities involved in teaching the Holocaust. Lectures planned for this seminar will deal with the following subjects: Jewish Life before the War, The Development of the Nazi Ideology, Stages of The Final Solution and Rehabilitation of Survivors’ Lives after the War. In addition, pedagogical units developed at Yad Vashem will be presented. The Hungarian teachers will present their own projects in joint sessions with Yad Vashem’s teaching staff and will exchange ideas. It is important to note that the graduates of these seminars continue developing methods of teaching in their respective countries based on the pedagogical tools that they acquired in these seminars.

Romanian Teachers’ Seminar: November 22 – December 4, 2005
Some twenty-five participants will attend this seminar, which was initiated by the Romanian Education Ministry. The seminar will stress the characteristics of the Holocaust in Romania, and the unique local conditions of teaching the Holocaust in this country.

Annual Poland Seminar: November 6-20, 2005
This seminar will include twenty-five participants. This is an annual seminar for workers of the Auschwitz Museum, which will also include several teachers and educators. The seminar itinerary includes lectures, workshops, discussion panels and tours throughout the country. Lectures include such topics as Jewish-Polish relations, issues in Polish Jewish history, antisemitism in its various forms, selected issues in the history of the Holocaust, challenges and goals in Holocaust education for the 21st century, Holocaust education through the internet and various aspects of the State of Israel. The teachers will meet with Israeli teachers to discuss pedagogical issues, and will visit an Israeli high school. The seminar also includes a tour of the new museum, the archives and the library. Staff members at the International School will introduce the latest innovations in Holocaust education and the teaching units. Seminar participants will be given free time for independent use of the archives and the library.

Past Seminars Conducted by the European Department
Seminar for Russian Teachers: March 20-April 2, 2005
This seminar was attended by eighteen participants from all fields of education, including four professors who composed textbooks for Russian schools. Some of these have developed their own unique teaching methods. The seminar included a meeting with survivors, a lecture by a Righteous Among the Nations, and other lectures. Several didactic workshops were held and participants showed noticeable interest. The didactic day, in cooperation with Yad Vashem staff members, sparked much interest, and the feeling is that the participants benefited greatly from the ability to share discussion on didactic and pedagogical issue. Of particular interest were current antisemitism and its historical roots, in Russia and in Europe.

Lithuanian Seminar: June 13–27, 2005
This seminar was attended by twenty participants, all high school history or literature teachers. Participants split into two groups, one that was emotionally and professionally prepared to deal with the issue of the Holocaust, and the other that still had difficulty in doing so. The seminar included praiseworthy workshops. In particular, the exclusively prepared workshop on bystanders. The didactic day, also a success, consisted mostly of meetings with lecturers. The new museum evoked positive reactions, as well as appreciative feedback for organizational professionalism, the high level of the lectures and overall pedagogic preparation. Dealing with the Holocaust was a meaningful event for these participants.

Croatian Teachers’ Seminar: July 17-31, 2005
This seminar was attended by twenty-five participants, mostly teachers. The group was very dynamic and highly motivated. Their willingness and openness to genuinely discuss the subject resulted in many important questions not only raised, but discussed as well on the various topics of the seminar. The workshops were successful and gave participants new ideas and teaching methods, which they will be able to implement in their own schools. It’s important to point out that the issue of Jewish history before the Holocaust was new to most of the participants. Also, dealing with antisemitism proved complex and difficult to some of the participants. Feedback given at the end of the seminar indicates satisfaction from both the organization and content of the event.

Belgian Seminar: April 3-9, 2005
Twenty three teachers, (12 English speakers and 11 Flemish speakers) participated in this seminar. It’s important to note that this was the first seminar of its kind conducted at Yad Vashem. Two main goals were set for the seminar: One was to open and develop channels of cooperation in the field of Holocaust education in Belgium; the second, to broaden the participants’ historical knowledge. For Yad Vashem, it was important to convey the International School’s pedagogical philosophy, not only on the theoretical level, but also by exposing participants to practical lesson plans developed at the School, which could help them. The makeup of the group was varied, due both to the linguistic and cultural differences, and the differences in familiarity on the subject. Most lectures were delivered in English and simultaneously translated to Flemish and French. The seminar program consisted of three categories, the main one being Holocaust education; the second, pre-war and contemporary antisemitism; and the third – presenting the current conflict and Israeli reality. Based on the participants' evaluations, they were pleased with the level of the lecturers and the organization of the seminar.

Hungarian Seminar – Shaping the Memory: March 19-24, 2005
This seminar was attended by twenty-six participants, including council officials, senior representatives of the Hungarian Culture Ministry, a cleric who is also a member of parliament, and two renowned historians. Due to the makeup of the group, the seminar emphasized general historical aspects and methods of commemoration. Special importance was given to encouraging dialog within the group on these subjects. Lectures focused on historical issues, the prewar Jewish world, Holocaust commemoration and Yad Vashem’s Pedagogical Philosophy.

British Teachers’ Seminar: May 28 – June 5, 2005
The first seminar of its kind, held in cooperation with the Imperial War Museum in London. Sixteen educators, mostly history teachers, participated. The seminar’s goal was to assist the teachers in teaching the Holocaust, not only by enhancing their historical knowledge, but also by giving them pedagogical tools. The seminar was conducted at three levels: the academic, the pedagogic and the experimental. The experiment for Yad Vashem was in examining how we teach the subject of prewar and postwar Jewish life, while focusing on the individual. Another important subject discussed in the seminar was how to confront the comparison often drawn between Israel’s actions in the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Nazi’s actions before and during the Holocaust. In the pedagogical meetings, the focus was on presenting the International School’s Pedagogical Philosophy in teaching the Holocaust.

Austrian Teachers’ Seminar: August 18-26, 2005
In 1998, on the sixtieth anniversary of Kristallnacht (“the night of broken glass"), the Education Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia sent a group of teachers to a seminar at Yad Vashem. The initial success of this seminar has led to many more since, and the seminar in August will be the tenth. The group will be comprised of twenty teachers from various fields of education. They will attend lectures and participate in smaller workshops on various subjects together with Yad Vashem teaching staff. For example, subjects will include: "Teaching the Holocaust to Young Age Groups" and "The Holocaust in Films". The aim of the workshops is to introduce Yad Vashem’s educational approach to the participants and to hear from them about their educational work in their schools.