International seminar for teachers held in Terezín

Participants of the seminar in the study room in the Ghetto Museum, photo: Pavel Straka, Památník Terezín.

Participants of the seminar in the study room in the Ghetto Museum, photo: Pavel Straka, Památník Terezín.

Between 26th and 29th November 2015, the Terezín Memorial hosted the 15th annual seminar “Holocaust in Education” attended by 44 Czech teachers. While the first stage of the education cycle “How to teach about the Holocaust” is conducted by Czech lecturers only, the November seminar welcomes also speakers from international institutions (the Israeli memorial Yad Vashem, the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Wannsee Conference House in Germany). Their common aim is to inform Czech teachers of the methods and views of the issue of teaching about the Holocaust in their home organizations. Traditionally, Czech lecturers were present as well; among them being the representatives of the Jewish Museum in Prague and the NGOs Asi-milovaní and People in Need. Petr Lhotka delivered a speech on the Roma Holocaust, and Martin Šmok spoke, as a Czech representative, for the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.

Very inspiring was the presentation of the work of pupils from The 3rd Primary School in Slaný and the Primary school in Trmice by Ústi nad Labem, who, guided by their teachers, had done researches on Jewish families from their hometowns under a project titled “Neighbours Who Disappeared”.

Evenings were devoted to the art work associated with the Holocaust and coming not only from the Czech environment. Besides the screening of the Polish-Czechoslovak film “Hraniční ulička” (Border Street) by Aleksander Ford (1948), featuring the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Thursday brought the performance of the children’s opera Brundibár by Hans Krása and Adolf Hoffmeister staged by the Disman Radio Children’s Ensemble under the piano accompaniment of Andrea Vavrušová. On Saturday Jaroslav Achab Haidler from Činoherní studio (The Drama Studio) in Ústí nad Labem presented his one-man play Mr. Theodor Mundstock, an adaptation of the eponymous Ladislav Fuks’s novel.

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S příchodem nacistů se mé dětské mysli otevřely podivné obzory. Uvědomil jsem si, že nelze spontánně ctít starosty, radní, duchovní, soudce, učitele, různé přednosty, ale že si naši úctu musí zasloužit. Vždyť někteří z těch, které jsem míval v oblibě, zvedali pravici k poctě vůdce a později pilně vstupovali do komunistické strany. Začal jsem brzy lidi třídit. — Tom Luke, Kolektiv autorů: Pokoj 127, Domov mládeže Q708, Terezín, Gymnázium Plzeň a o.s. HUMR, 2007, s. 89.