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The International School for Holocaust Studies

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Szabadine Viszmeg Erzsebet, Hungary

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Szabadine Viszmeg Erzsebet, a teacher in the Kossuth Lajos Primary School in Soltvadkert, Hungary, designed a project to promote Holocaust education in her school. Based on the educational system, students in Hungary learn about the Holocaust within the context of World War II, but do not focus on personal stories. Soon after Erzsebet began developing a textbook to teach the Holocaust, she attended a seminar at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem (ISHS). As a graduate, she received a small grant from the European Department at ISHS, motivating her to continue her work. Erzsebet created her textbook for history and social studies classes, highlighting personal stories of four Jewish families who once lived in her hometown including archival pictures and pedagogical activities. The book is unique in Hungary in that it incorporates Yad Vashem’s pedagogical philosophy, combining it with individual stories and the general history of the Holocaust. This textbook is now used to teach about the Holocaust in her school.

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As part of her didactic approach, Erzsebet focuses on Jewish history and the culture of the Jewish people in Hungary; she takes her students on walking tours of the neighborhood as well as the local Jewish community and synagogue. She continues to work on implementing Holocaust education programming in her school both in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities.
In addition, Erzsebet organized a trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest for a group of students. History classes in the school participated a poster competition organized by Yad Vashem and held in the Center. In their artwork, students focused on the loss of Holocaust survivors, and several of their posters were displayed in the museum.