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“Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations”

Over 220 participants from 31 countries to participate in Fourth International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem, in cooperation with Oranim Educational Initiatives, Ltd.
Opening Ceremony, in the presence of Ehud Olmert, to take place Sunday evening

05 August 2004

On Sunday, August 8, 2004, the Fourth International Conference for Educators, “Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations” will open at Yad Vashem. The opening ceremony will take place at 19:30 at the Family Plaza at the International School for Holocaust Studies. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev and President of Oranim Educational Initiatives Shlomo (Momo) Lifshitz will participate.

The four-day conference includes lectures in plenary sessions, discussion groups and workshops that will explore new and varied approaches to Holocaust education in the 21st century. The conference will focus on Holocaust education in different parts of the world, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching the Holocaust, and modern and current antisemitism. Over 220 participants will arrive from 31 countries - including such varied states as China, Turkey, Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Poland, Germany and the United States. Experts on the Holocaust and education from leading institutions around the world will give the lectures and lead the discussion groups.

Scores of workshops will be held on a myriad of issues ranging from teaching the Holocaust to Israeli Arabs, to humor in the Holocaust, to using film to teach the Holocaust, to the advantages and disadvantages of using the Internet for Holocaust education. Questions such as what is the right age to begin Holocaust education, the role of survivor testimonies in the classroom, using art to teach the Holocaust, women in concentration camps, and more, will be considered.

Conference participants will debate, discuss and examine current trends and events that are relevant to educators in the new millennium in a number of sessions including: “The role of the Shoah in Jewish education - the Challenge in the 21st century,” “What are the moral and ethical implications in interdisciplinary Holocaust education?” “What do we do in the classroom? Different pedagogical approaches,” “Contemporary antisemitism, Israel and the Holocaust,” and “Antisemitism and the phenomena of Holocaust denial - How do we equip students with the proper tools?”

The conference will provide a forum for educators from around the world to participate in a wide-ranging and enriching dialogue on Holocaust education. Unlike historical conferences, the International Conference focuses on the future. Participants will address the dilemmas and complexities involved in teaching the Holocaust. They will be exposed to new areas of research and a wide range of pedagogical material, curricula, movies, educational websites and more.

“Teaching the Holocaust is not only teaching history, but teaching the Holocaust as a human, societal and Jewish event,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate. “The main focus of the International School’s educational approach is identification with the individual, and from that point to move onto the broader story. We believe that an interdisciplinary approach to Holocaust education will lead to a deeper and more extensive knowledge of the Shoah.” Shalev added, “Teachers and educators stand at the front of the struggle against antisemitism. A society’s strength is measured by those who fight against this destructive phenomenon and education fills a central role in this sphere.”

“Antisemitism is not a natural occurrence, and it is certainly possible to fight it,” said Shlomo (Momo) Lifshitz, President of Oranim Educational Initiatives, who is co-sponsoring the conference. “As the survivor generation grows smaller and there are fewer eyewitnesses, the job of the educator in ensuring the memory of the Holocaust intensifies, this is why Oranim Educational Initiatives has set a goal to reach as many educators as possible and to give them practical tools, enriching their abilities to pass on the lessons of the Holocaust.”

The closing session, “Jewish Identity in the post-Holocaust World” will take place on Wednesday, August 11, at 19:30 in the presence of Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Minister of Housing and Construction Tzipi Livni, Dr. Motti Shalem, Director, International School for Holocaust Studies. Amnon Weigler, Vice-President, Oranim Educational Initiatives Ltd. Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau will give the keynote address.