Born in Kiev, with a background in mathematics, Ms. Smilyanskaya has taught various aspects of Ukrainian history for over 28 years. Since 1996, she has dedicated herself to Holocaust history, combining research with teaching. Her original research on “Local Press of Nazi Occupied Ukraine” was published in various media. Ms. Smilyanskaya’s educational activities in Holocaust history are multifaceted. She has developed a training system for high school pupils to guide themselves around the “Anne Frank – History Lesson“ exhibit (in cooperation with “Anne Frank House” in Amsterdam) training 903 guides across 50 Ukrainian towns. She has developed an educational track, “Teaching Holocaust History as a Path To Tolerance”, written a textbook for Holocaust Education as joint multinational project of Ukraine, Netherlands and Belgium (ed. M. Ottena & Y. Smilyansky), and developed the exhibitions “Origins of Tolerance” and “Golodomor, Holocaust and GULAG –Three Tragedies on Ukrainian Soil in the 20th Century”. Throughout, she has continued to teach both Teacher Training Seminars and University Courses.
Ms. Smilanskaya participated in the Yad Vashem Teachers’ Training Seminar in 2003, and in 2006 she brought the first Ukrainian Group of Educators to Yad Vashem. Her teaching unit on “Local Press of Nazi Occupied Ukraine” is available as an educational resource on the Yad Vashem website.
Currently, Ms. Smilanskaya serves as Director of The Judaica Institute in Kiev and organizes student delegations to explore Jewish and Holocaust sites in Ukraine.