The International School for Holocaust Studies
Feedback from Teachers
Romanian Teachers Seminar, November 2010
"I would like to thank you, in the name of the Romanian teachers, for the excellent seminar you have organized for us. During the week we spent in Israel we had the chance to benefit from a well structured training program, to participate in remarkable seminars and workshops that undoubtedly will contribute to improving the teaching methods of the Romanian teachers. Also, the trip and the walks around Jerusalem was a very good occasion to get acquainted with Israel of today. Special thanks for everything that made our stay there excellent. Thank you and the Yad Vashem for this great opportunity that will stay in our memory for long. I really hope to find a way to continue to work together..."
"This is an excellent work. You must continue."
"I think that it was a very fruitful seminar. We have gained new approaches and exchanged experiences. I believe that its very useful to continue running these seminars and to keep in touch."
"It was interesting. I internalized a lot of things. I understood different approaches better. It was just fine - also at the hotel and with the transport and visits. You are special people and very well prepared for sustaining such activities."
"I suggest you continue this program for Romanian teachers because its a unique experience."
Educators from Sweden, October 2010
“It has been a very good week!! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be here.”
“I will certainly have good use of everything I have learnt at Yad Vashem.”
“I bring home so many things - so much more facts about Holocaust studies”.
“Very good seminar. Very good museum. Fantastic days.”
“A very good program and mix!! I can and will recommend it to everyone I know. The lectures/specialists = top level and personal, “human”, not only facts.”
“Thank you so much! I will never forget.”
“This week has been absolutely wonderful. It has been intense but I have learned so much. Knowledge, inspiration and emotions are a good conclusion of what I bring home with me.”
“Interesting, educational, emotional but too much to take in and handle. This week has given me a lot to think about, both concerning my teaching but also a reminder of how precious and wonderful life is. Thank you”
“It has been a fantastic week with many interesting lectures in a wonderful surrounding. Though, too short breaks (in) some of the days and too little time to reflection. The overall grade is - a terrific week.”
“It would have been good with more “air” in the schedule […] I take the faces and histories of the victim with me in my classroom at home.”
“It’s unbelievable that we have had the opportunity to listen to such phenomenal lecturers. […] Of course Yiftach has been the perfect host and guide the whole week.”
“This seminar will be something I always will carry with me, an adventure for life.”
Yiftach is very good! Know(s) a lot and take(s) his job seriously.
“I am very satisfied with this week and will probably remember it for the rest of my life.”
“…As a professor I can do a lot for promotion the truth about the Holocaust in Croatian theological academic circle, which is very important to us.
I hope that this work of mine will be fruitful. So, this is going to be very positive and very good work for me. Once more, thank you for everything.”
“… Lives of those innocent people were just taken because someone thought that he is a god. Their names were taken, everything what a person is, they were absolutely dehumanized, humiliated in every sense. They were killed in every sense. It was a planed strategy.
So, at least what we can for those 6 millions which were just deleted from the world, is to tell the world THE TRUTH, that this tragedy can never be forgotten and that we have to keep them in our memory and give them back THE NAMES so that they can rest in peace forever. So we as educators we have to teach next generations and help them to shape their positive and good attitudes and lifes.
It is a big mission, it is our responsibility so we have to carry on especially fighting Antisemitism because every time when we do not react we are bystanders and we are forgetting all those 6 millions victims and every future victim of an Antisemitic person in the world.
If we do not react we are giving and creating a chance for a new Shoah. Remembering the past we are really shaping the future. Thank you and God bless you all.”
“The cultural level of the lessons was very high and the visual approach was really impressive. Sometimes words are empty boxes but the Yad Vashem method is made of flesh and bones as Hebrew master Fritz Perls used to say…the teachers showed an unbelievable enthusiasm.”
The key points that take away with you from this week at Yad Vashem:
- A new awareness of the complexity of the Jewish question.
- The need for a network of experienced teachers, at national and local to direct and Coordinate the initiatives of the paper.
- The need to address the Jewish question and the Holocaust, only after have presented, Briefly, the history and life of the Jewish people.
- The need to deepen, with research and studies, everyday life Italian Jews during World War II
“Summing up the program I can say that it was very well planned and paced in that our Holocaust Journey had a clear chronological order. The speakers were excellent and the educational workshops were effective in introducing me to teaching methods that I will use in future. With regard to the historical content of the program I found most of the lecturing truly inspiring and vastly informative. Overall I can safely declare that the Seminar has advanced my knowledge and understanding of the subject substantially, and for that I will be forever grateful to the Holocaust Education Trust of Ireland and Yad Vashem.”
“This course is outstanding! It is exceptionally good and challenging and thorough. Three key features emerged for me: the reclaiming of the dead; the dual narrative; and the need for rooting one’s teaching in historical fact is paramount. I will only be able to use this material specifically for probably about 2-4 weeks in Transition Year, but I now have a wide range of options, as well as methods by which to engage the students. I am already aware that the course content I will use will vary from year to year, depending on the interests and abilities of the students. I would look to the students not only developing a bank of knowledge different to that they would develop in History (in particular), but also developing life skills.
The extra-curricular activities were – are – a necessary antidote to the nature of the material and were varied and all encompassing. From my perspective as a Religious education teacher, the visits to the Jewish and Muslim sites were of particular interest (as was the input from Rabbi Yeshaya Balog).
It’s difficult to suggest changes to the programme. On the one hand, less by way of extra-curricular activities may free up time for – for example – the Survivor Testimony to appear earlier in the programme, though this would clearly be dependent on the availability of the person whom Yad Vashem was able to enlist to speak. However, “losing” the time for those activities would deprive one of visiting some of the most wonderful museums in the world and sites pertinent to the religious education courses I am currently teaching.
My thanks to all concerned for making the trip possible and for the content of the program.”
“The trip to Jerusalem is a hugely significant module on the Certificate in Holocaust Studies Course for Educators. We indulged in the finest calibre of lectures and partook in practical and inspiring workshops. The programme is intense and the subject matter deeply upsetting. We were presented with a vast array of teaching methodologies and tools as well as practical resources to bring to our classrooms. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience and there are not enough superlatives to portray the value and significance of this trip to me both personally and as an educator. The daytrips or extracurricular activities were necessary diversions in light of our hectic schedule and distressing nature of our subject matter. However these cultural outings were learning experiences for us as well as enjoyable highlights on our programme. Shulamit Imber warned us of our crucial role as Holocaust educators dealing with such a sensitive subject to a highly impressionable age group: our task is to bring our students safely in and bring them safely back out again. Lynn Jackson, Yiftach Meiri and the speakers on our course did just that- they brought us safely in and safely back out again in a carefully and systematically planned course of lectures, workshops and tours.
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ( Lily Tomlin as “Edith Ann”)
.....we certainly have much to think about.”
This seminar generated the following questions and comments from Dutch participants:
- “This week I started to look for myself. What is my identity?”
- “The possibility to look at this history from so many different perspectives and the human face of this period of time.”
- “Everybody is different and something unique to offer to humanity.”
- “The Holocaust is the worst crime against humanity.”
- “You can only teach this as you talk about human beings, otherwise it is not really teaching the Holocaust.”
- “The culture of memory of tomorrow starts today.”
“For the first time in my life I learn about Holocaust on this way. We learned HOW, WHEN and HOW MANY pupils could learn on one workshop. We met and heard excellent teachers during the Seminar. We learned about history, religion and culture at the same time. We explored Jerusalem and part of Israel on our own excursion. People from Yad Vashem were very friendly, directly and very patient to answer on our questions. Exhibition at The Museum (Yad Vashem) gave me strong experience with stronger emotions and Chava Baruch was excellent guide through it. I hope we will work together at the future! ISHS is well-organized place for people who want to learn about HOLOCAUST. This place is amazing and victims deserve that! Excellent!!!”
“My stay at Yad Vashem was so useful, interesting (a little bit unbelievable when we saw some parts of life in Israel.) I think here I learnt something new how can I teach children better, through personal stories, to discuss about the same problem through different points of view (Jews, Nazis etc.) So I’ll try to use these methods of teaching at home. Maybe the seminar was a little bit short; it will better to stay here some more days. Thank you for everything! I think I became other person, something was changed in myself.”
United Kingdom, Holocaust Educational Trust
"A wonderful experience. Well structured. Intense. Soulful and lots to reflect on. People are welcoming and I am very grateful and humbled by the whole experience. I would not change anything!"
"It has been a privilege to be here and thank you to everyone who has organized it and made it possible. A very big thanks you to Yiftach Meiri especially. I wish all teachers training was this good!!
I will never forget what I have learned and experienced and also what I have felt emotionally this week. I think it will be with me forever."
"A well planned, well organized course, informative, challenging and delivered on an academic format."
"Thank you so much for a superb week. I have really enjoyed my time here [...] Thank you to Yad Vashem for the hospitality and some excellent teaching and learning resources and ideas which I can't wait to implement"
“Thank you that you enabled me to be here, I really enjoyed myself. There is tremendous work being done here, and I want to use it in my lessons and in my own, private life.”
“Colorfully crafted program, important learning materials, I got emotionally closer to the Holocaust. Now I am able to approach the Holocaust from different angles intellectually and more comprehending way. In the same time I got a glimpse into the life of Israel and Jerusalem. I became more at the end of the course. Thank you!”
“Thank you so much for enabling me to take part in this program. 90% of the lectures were useful, and full of information. I learnt a lot during these 11 days.”
“I have learnt a lot from this seminar. It strengthened me in my conviction that one has to speak about this topic in the school.”
“I can only speak about everything in superlative!”
“I was happy, that I had the opportunity to hear the lectures of experts.”
“I met many brilliant, dedicated and devoted lecturers and teachers, from who I could learn a lot. I have to continue learning…”
“The course excelled by expectations and aims. All this has absolutely changed my attitudes and relations within the multicultural issues. Thanks to you and your colleagues this seminar has given new skills and methods to me to fulfill my task as a teacher… to educate the pupils toward a better future, better world! My deepest thanks.”
“Whole week has been excellent. Now I have knowledge skills and material to share with training teachers and pupils. Academic lectures were excellent. Teaching part was really good; it’s easy to transfer ideas to teaching. Seminar was well organized. Yiftach Meiri was the BEST!”
“A very good compilation of a very complex subject. I got a lot of new ideas for my work and I got also myself a tough experience with the processing the Holocaust in the level of feelings. It would be better to have a bit shorter days and also have more own projects in the museum. The process will continue and I don’t yet know what will be the result.”
“I was amazed how well the lecturers and workshops were planned and thought through. Every day of this seminar was organized and planned very well. I really liked the lecturers’ way of teaching. It was inspiring and there was very often this dialogue going on.” “I am really glad that I participated in this seminar. I got a lot of new ideas on how to teach and develop teaching about the Holocaust. The substance was deep, lecturers were excellent and Yiftach Meiri was superior in teaching and handling us. I hope that you keep your important task in spreading this heavy task. Thank you very much.”
“Yiftach, you were just perfect. Organizing our whole time here in Jerusalem. The rhythm of the day and the breaks and activities were very well planned and the schedule was really good. I really had a feeling that I was not exhausted or tired at all during the whole week. On the contrary, this learning was just empowering and I can say transformative. We were in very good mood in our group also, which tells that the seminar was inspiring. I wish you all good.”
“The seminar was very well planned and I felt privileged to be able to attend it. I learned a lot and I certainly will pass on the information and the skills I have learned at my school in Finland.”
“The seminar on the whole has been a very touching experience. Our fantastic group coordinator, Yiftach Meiri, together with the other lecturers has led us into a difficult journey through history, but at all times without falling into prejudices or biased views. The dignity and poingnance used together with the enormous knowledge of the subject left no one doubting. Yad Vashem is the place for Shoah studies. I cannot wait to start using the knowledge gained in my own teaching work. The practical tools given, together with the theory, will guide me into this difficult, but so important, task of teaching the Shoah.
“What can one say, other than a sincere thank you to each and every individual and team that helped create the package of treasures and then opened it with us through this unforgettable week. Thank you for sharing what you have to offer at Yad Vashem with total strangers like us. We take back much more than a pile of materials and notes in our bags. The most important things are imprinted on our hearts.”
“Unique experience. I shall never forget these nine days. This seminar was even more rewarding than I thought. It also gave me an incentive to read the relevant academic literature on the topic. I will be coming back to Israel in the future. I thank you dearly for the experience.”
“I think that the package is very well put together and clearly follows the pedagogical ideology of Yad Vashem. The package is so intense that maybe it would be an idea to have a half a day break in the middle just to have some time for the brain to reflect. Maybe a bit more time for reflection and discussion would also be good. All in all I am very happy about the quality of the course and am eager to go back to work to actually use the information in my work. Thank you!”
Baden Wurtemburg, Germany
The Educational Concept of The International School for Holocaust Studies (ISHS), Dr. Noa Mkayton, European Department, ISHS, Yad Vashem
“Presentation (lively and competent) of highly useful knowledge and arguments as well as material for instant use in future lessons”
“Very interesting and informative lecture, well done performance and perfect presentation”
“Distinct structure and uncomplicated explanations of the concept of Yad Vashem - very interesting impulses, very impressing texts and quotations and pictures - extremely important topics for the whole week and my teaching activity afterwards.”
“The shown approach made sense to me. It is a human approach that’s why it is convincing. I finally found the structuring element that I was searching for. Thank you.”
Judaism - An Introduction to the Basic Concepts of Judaism Rabbi Yeshaya Balog, European Department, ISHS, Yad Vashem
“This lecture gave us/ me a most interesting insight into Jewish religion and way of thinking and arguing. Some things were new to me, others I would have liked to discuss in further detail. All in all, I would have needed even more time for this part.”
“Exciting. For me it was a very different meeting with a rabbi than I had before. He showed that Judaism is a process. I would have appreciated to have more time to get into the religious way of thinking.”
Guided Site Tour, Remembrance in Yad Vashem and the Israeli Society Uriel Kashi, European Department, ISHS, Yad Vashem
“The tour was very interesting and sometimes moving. I especially liked the reflection on the development of Jewish self-conception concerning Holocaust monuments (difference between the 60s and modern perception)”
“Very impressive tour and overview concerning changing culture of remembrance”
“Very interesting and impressing, very good explanations, good to walk a certain while”
“Valuable group work with a great book. Good exchange, many ideas to use in lessons. Learning from and with each other.”
“Good group work with very vivid materials. The children’s books were really touching. Interesting conversations!”
“Great impulses, I got many ideas for my own lessons”
Everyday life in a Ghetto Uriel Kashi, European Department, ISHS, Yad Vashem
“Very competent introduction into the topic and the material (book). Didactically interesting pictures and text sources that are right away usable in class”
“Great material! Good approach to start the exchange through the method (pictures), guesswork…”
Operation Barbarossa, A turning point in WW II: The beginning of “The Final Solution” Dr. Daniel Uziel, Yad Vashem Arcive
“Sophisticated scientific lecture but very interesting (humorously) made. Absolutely has to stay in the program!”
“Excellent presentation, structured, scientifically challenging”
“Competent, humorous lecture - impulses were really good and are leading to more reflections… an understandable presentation of a complex topic. The change within the perspectives was very well done.”
“Very differentiated lecture with a lot of details and a convincing argumentation concerning the connection between the history of the military and the Holocaust”
Return to Life Daniel Rozenga, European Department, ISHS, Yad Vashem
“Very competently and humorously presented topic, very good usable in class.”
“A totally new aspect. The connection never was so clear to me. Daniel focused very well on the topic.”
Righteous Among The Nation Dr. Ehud Loeb
“Very sensitive and differentiated lecture about his own biographical backgrounds and the committee”
“Very focused, very sensitive! Great! ”
“Subtle; morally on a very high level, moderate, dedicated. It was an honor to get to know Dr. Loeb. Impressing. ”
“For me, this was the most impressive encounter. A person who is moderate and humble. He endorsed proximity and at the same time distance.”
“Personally - for me the most moving encounter, with regard to contents: explanation of the proceeding was enlightening to understand the meaning”
“The encounter with this moderate and honest Dr. Ehud Loeb was a highlight for me! Great respect to the work of the Commission that checks the nomination of The Righteous Among The Nations!”
General Reflections on the Seminar
“The best teacher training of my life at a place that deeply impressed me.”
“I got a lot of new ideas and impulses through the seminar to arrange my lessons in a new way. The referees were very competent, real experts who let us participate with humor and calmness on their knowledge. Through the group and the guidance a fertile working atmosphere evolved. Great experience!”
“Very tight but although excellent program! I do not think that the seminar was weary, contrariwise, it was exceedingly enriching!”
“Since a long time it was my desire to participate in an teacher training at Yad Vashem because I knew it from other federal states like Sachsen. Our expectations were fulfilled. The way we were introduced to the topic was sensitive, cautious. The referees were convincing and authentic, very individual. I definitely support the idea to install the seminar for all teachers in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The intention and methodology was transparent, everything well structured. Half day off would have given more space to me. ”
“Uriel is fantastic! Sovereign, unbelievable able to create exactly this atmosphere that is needed to always motivate without being intrusive - unbelievable good, that man:-)! The seminar as a whole was really inspiring for me and on a very high level with regard to quality, I never experienced something comparable before..”
“Uriel, stay the way you are! Competent, sensitive, very cautious but with clear guidance.”
“Uriel Kashi is professionally very competent; his charming and binding character and his knowledge make him being an enjoyable companion.”
“I cannot commend enough: excellent, open minded, helpful, competent host - the structure became transparent and convincing within a very short time - every part was on such a high level with regard to the contents that it was a real pleasure in comparison to the normal every day procedure in school - referees that were - everybody in his/her own way - very impressing personalities - weather was brilliant - good hotel… to put it in a nutshell: a lot of impulses for my own lessons with regards to contents and methodology, though the program was tight, there was no fatigue but desire for more, there was a generosity in every aspect, Thank you”
“I learned a lot of things, maybe not completely new ones but from an Israeli point of view. It was a great experience and will surely have an impact on my future studies and lectures. Sometimes I wished to have more time for reflection and for having everything settled. I would have liked to get some more information about the Israel of today - its problems, advantages, hopes, fears,… maybe caused by the past events. And perhaps a mid-week break or an excursion into nature would have helped to counteract mental tiredness. But all in all it has been a GREAT experience”
“I came with two questions: 1. Why have it been especially the Germans who committed the murder on the Jewish people?” 2. How is it possible to teach about the Shoah and develop a curriculum that connects (almost) all subjects and age groups? For both questions I got answers, for the first one fewer, for the second one more. The approach to the Shoah was very sensitive, pedagogically very reflected and made it possible for everybody to learn new things. Uriel’s guidance through the week seemed to be very caring to me, he never forgot about the goals of our teacher training, and neither did we. I don’t think that it had been good to have more breaks, it simply was an intensive working week.”
“It is the best seminar I ever attended. The stuff, especially Uriel, was very good and I only can recommend to everybody to join a seminar with him. His professional but also social skills are excellent. I got a lot of impulses for my own lessons. The pedagogical concept was not about “concernment” instead it was an approach to a cruel topic that also gives space for hope.”