The International School for Holocaust Studies
European Department Graduate Projects
“Traveling for the Future”
Cor van de Griendt, The Netherlands
Cor van de Griendt is a Dutch social pedagogue with a background in developing projects, workshops, trainings and methodologies on Holocaust education, anti-racism and related topics. Van de Griendt is the coordinator of the Holocaust-related education project "Traveling for the Future" (TFTF), responsible for the content and organization of this initiative.
In January 2012 he attended a seminar for teachers at the International School for Holocaust Studies Yad Vashem.
According to Van de Griendt, the seminar has improved his historical knowledge and pedagogical approaches. The seminar reinforced his beliefs that personal stories about individuals should be emphasized when teaching about the Holocaust.
TFTF is an initiative by the Dutch National War and Resistance Museum (in the city of Overloon). The project receives funding from the Province of Noord-Brabant en currently is a cooperation of Palet and United for Intercultural Action. Cor van de Griendt advises the project on the content-side; Holocaust education, racism, extreme nationalism, violence, discrimination and xenophobia. This one-year project takes a culturally diverse range of youngsters on a journey to Holocaust-related memorial sites throughout Europe. The project aims to engage young people in the battle against prejudice and to improve communication between different communities through informal learning by experience.
In 1996, TFTF launched three pilot programs for more than 100 young people aged 16-20. Since then, the project has expanded. The project is currently run by one coordinator (Van de Griendt), six to eight supervisors and two police officers. Supervisors are social youth workers, teachers and anti-racism activists. During a 48-hour preparatory program, the supervisors and police officers come together to train as a team and to develop a common framework.
Over the course of a school year, supervisors moderate activities where the participants familiarize themselves with the history of the Holocaust. In addition to undertaking research projects and meeting with survivors, the participants reflect on their own lives and family histories. As much as possible, TFTF activities emphasize human relations, sensitivity, empathy and mutual respect. Months of preparatory activities precede a trip to authentic Holocaust memorial sites in Germany and Poland (Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau). The project culminates into a presentation by the participants, incorporating diary entries, photos and videos they made over the course of their learning experience. Family, friends and community members are invited to these presentations, which in the past has led to audiences of approximately 500 persons.
Over the past few years, TFTF staff members have fine-tuned and adapted their methodology. Within the framework, different Dutch cities and villages (in the year 2013/2014 in the region of Almelo and Twenterand), work together as ´twinning´ partners. Twin groups have the opportunity to meet each other and share what they have learned about prejudice, racism, the Holocaust and other genocides. Particularly following the visits to the extermination camps, participants need time to reflect on what they have learned and to prepare presentations to pass on their knowledge to others. The aim of the project is to inspire participants to use the TFTF as a launching pad for follow-up activities, such as volunteering for refugee NGOs or initiating school projects like " School Without Racism."
For more information on ´Traveling for the Future´ and ´School Without Racism´, click here