The International School for Holocaust Studies
Teaching the Legacy: e-Newsletter for Holocaust Educators
New on the Website: Online Photo Gallery
The International School for Holocaust Studies website features an online photograph gallery of events which took place at the School. The photo gallery documents a variety of events from the ongoing activities at the School, including: seminars for foreign educators, exhibits on display at the School, visits by foreign delegates, lectures, conferences and workshops. The gallery appears in English, Hebrew, German Czech and French. Past featured galleries included photos from the seminar for survivors of the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda, the staff exchange with representatives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, art works exhibit by Czech children, the ICHEIC International Forum and more. More galleries, in various languages, are due to be uploaded in the near future. To view the album, click here.
New on the Website: "Between the Worlds" – Social Circles in the Theresiendstadt Ghetto
In March 2006, The International School for Holocaust Studies launched the “Between the Worlds” website, designed to accompany the similarly titled educational CD-ROM. The innovation of this CD-ROM, and of the website, is in its focus on daily life in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and on the social circles that existed within it. Using these educational tools we become acquainted with the various groups that lives in the ghettos – adults, children, parents and others, and the relationship between them. This difficult journey tries to trace the feelings of these people in those days of loss, chaos and sudden partings. Yet this challenges us to observe the individual in the Holocaust, his or hers struggle with extreme hardships and the indelible scars they left.
The accompanying website includes a lesson plan that introduces one of the chapters, focusing on the world and the lives of children in the ghetto, and their relationship with various social circles in the ghetto. The lesson plan demonstrates how the teacher can work with the CD-ROM and incorporate the materials and ideas it presents.
Videoconference with a Camp Liberator
On March 8, 2006, a videoconference took place at Yad Vashem between Israeli teachers and representatives from the U.S. Embassy and Colonel Willis B. Scudder (90), a World War II veteran. The videoconference was the result of cooperation between Mr. Efraim Cohen, the Cultural Attaché from the U.S. Embassy to the State of Israel, and the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. The videoconference, part of our outreach activities, enables School staff to work with educators worldwide.
During the war, Colonel Scudder’s unit – the 89th Infantry Division – liberated the Ohrdruf labor camp, thus becoming one of the first within the ranks of the U.S. military to physically encounter the horrors of the Nazi camp system. Scudder talked of his memories from that period, on the discovery of the camp, meeting the survivors and about his visit, together with members of his unit, to the campsite in 1999.
Scudder described the utter surprise at finding the camp, which his unit essentially discovered by chance. His account echoes the feelings that Holocaust survivors have described from their own liberation: the lack of any real joy, crying, feeling shock and often, apathy. Years later, the sights and smells of the bodies strewn about the camp and the inmates wandering, as he described, “like ghosts”, remained etched in his memory.
Scudder returned to the campsite of the camp in 1999 as part of a tour of remembrance, in which surviving veterans from the 89th Infantry Division retraced the invasion route through Europe. A German military camp occupied the site and, much to their dismay, no monument or other testament to what had transpired there existed. None of the soldiers in the camp knew about the atrocities that had occurred there 55 years earlier. Colonel Scudder noted that the local population’s attitude toward the veterans’ visit was suspicious, even bordering on hostile.
The videoconference proved very emotional for Scudder and for the participants alike. The shock of Scudder’s first encounter with the camp and its survivors proved so difficult and traumatic that he did not speak of it for sixty years. He only began telling his story in 2004, out of a feeling that future generations must be told about the horrors of the Holocaust.
In the ensuing discussion, the Israeli teachers asked several questions, touching on the similarities between Scudder’s reaction and those of Holocaust survivors, the influence of the events on his world view, and the educational importance of his message.
In summing up the meeting, Scudder stated, "Our children and grandchildren should know there was a time when man failed in his responsibility to other men and, perhaps more importantly, in his responsibility to himself."