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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Teaching the Legacy: e-Newsletter for Holocaust Educators
(April, 2007)

European Department – ICHEIC Program
The third seminar for Italian educators took place at Yad Vashem, 2-11/1/2007. The 10-day seminar was attended by two groups of teachers from two regions in Italy (Emilia Romagna and Lombardia). The program included lectures by researchers such as Prof. Yehuda Bauer and Prof. Dan Michman, educational workshops and guided tours of the Yad Vashem complex. In addition, an inter-generational meeting took place, a technique first implemented in the July 2006 Greece seminar. The teachers met three generations: Holocaust survivors, as well as children and grandchildren of survivors, in order to enhance the human aspect of the seminar, as well to familiarize participants with some of the consequences of the Holocaust beyond first-hand survivors. The participants described this a rich, enlightening experience.

The teachers raised a need for pedagogical tools on the issue of the Holocaust and more recent genocides, a request echoed in other seminars. In response to this, the spring follow-up seminar for this group will focus on this topic, and is called “Between the Universal and the Unique Aspects of the Holocaust.”

A seminar for Croatian educators took place January 3-12, 2007. Twenty five educators attended, mostly middle and high-school teachers.

The teachers expressed much interest in their local history: Croatia’s role in the Holocaust, the story of the Jasenovac concentration and extermination camp, the civil war during the 90’s, and the lingering trauma of their personal experiences.

One particularly effective units was the meeting with Croatian survivors: Lili Gombush, Ruth Gat and Jehuda Shterk, the last two of whom work/volunteer at Yad Vashem. A strong connection formed between the teachers and the survivors, and they expressed an interest in incorporating the witness testimony in their activities in Croatia.

Two additional units which proved to be powerful for the participants were Dr. Ephraim Zuroff’s lecture on the hunt for Nazi war criminals, and the psychological lecture by Dr.Nathan Kellerman on survivors and treatment of traumas. A visit to a synagogue on Sabbath eve made a strong impression. The teachers took part in a traditional Shabbat welcoming ritual, and were deeply touched.

In February, a seminar for British educators took place at the International School for Holocaust Studies, attended by twenty-five teachers and educators. This seminar was the result of cooperation with the Imperial War Museum in London.

The 2nd Annual ICHEIC Forum took place 24th-27th February at the International School for Holocaust Studies with 18 invited participants, our European partners who are actively involved in Holocaust education throughout Europe and the recruiting of educators to Yad Vashem seminars. This year’s participants included Yvonne Schuchmann of the Hungarian Ministry of Education; Otto Rühl of the Danish Institute for International Studies; Vassilis Ritzaleos, member of the International Task Force Greek Delegation; Alida Matkovic of the Croatian Ministry of Education; Benoit Falaize of the National Institute for Pedagogical Research in France; and Lena Jarsenius of the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism. We were also delighted to welcome Dr. Annette Koren of the Cohen Centre for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, who presented the findings of her evaluation into the seminars held at Yad Vashem in 2005/2006 on behalf of ICHEIC.

This annual Forum takes place each year, within the framework of the ICHEIC Programme for Holocaust Education, in order to create an opportunity for the International School’s educational staff and our international partners to meet. It also provides a forum to discuss the status of Holocaust education throughout Europe, and the new educational programmes being created at Yad Vashem. Participants also present details as to educational projects created by graduates of Yad Vashem seminars and used in the classroom.

During the Forum participants were exposed to workshops on a wide range of subjects such as “Shoah and Genocide” and “Antisemitism”, a survivor testimony, tours of Yad Vashem’s Visual Centre and exhibition “An Arduous Road: Samuel Bak-60 years of Creativity” as well as an evening tour of the Tower of David Museum. Each participant provided updates as to educational activity in his country, while our Czech and UK representatives illustrated examples of graduate initiatives and how a network of educators has been successfully formed.

The 2007 Forum closed with Dr. Annette Koren’s summary of her evaluation into seminars held at Yad Vashem 2005/2006.

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