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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Teaching the Legacy: e-Newsletter for Holocaust Educators
(May, 2008)

The European Department continues its work with seminars for European educators at the International School for Holocaust Studies. This past winter, 2007, we welcomed the first Dutch seminar to visit Yad Vashem in 10 years. The seminar was a great success the participants where very impressed with Yad Vashem as a Holocaust institution and were inspired to set up several Holocaust education projects in Holland with other organization. The new outlook they gained through the different programs offered during the seminar has made them view the Israeli reality with a new understanding. A surprising but pleasant addition was the Dutch media’s wide coverage of the seminar’s visit and its contents. Among the participants were six Muslim teachers who found the seminar highly important.

The 3rd Annual ICHEIC Forum boasted twenty-one representatives from eighteen countries including first-time attendees from Spain, and the Netherlands. The participants represented our various counterparts in Europe, Directors of Holocaust Memorials and Museums, heads of Holocaust Education Organizations, and Education Ministry staff. The most impacting session of the Forum was a panel of Holocaust survivors.

In March, 2008 we held the very first seminar from Serbia; the 21 participants included representatives from different government ministries. This seminar was organized in cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The participants were very impressed with Yad Vashem, it’s campus and programs, and were deeply affected by the witness testimony. This successful cooperation has led to future plans.

April started off our summer with a string of successful seminars from Russia, Belgium, Poland, and Britain. For the Russian seminar of teachers, meeting with students and teachers at the Rene Cassin High School was deeply moving and enlightening. The Belgian seminar was unique in that its 100 participants were made up of teachers and youth. They were very interested in the discussion about Holocaust denial and the variety of ways that Yad Vashem looks at the Holocaust and the issues surrounding it. During their visit the participants toured the country and met with Israelis; these encounters offered them a different and more positive view than the one offered by the media in their country. All four seminars noted that the most significant part of their visit was the meeting with survivors.

The European Department looks forward to welcoming six seminars in May, amongst them the German, Northrhine-Westfalia, graduates seminar.

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