International seminar in the Terezín Memorial

Rachel Donnelly from the Imperial War Museum presenting her workshop “Touches of the Past“

Rachel Donnelly from the Imperial War Museum presenting her workshop “Touches of the Past“

Almost a tradition has become the seminar for Czech teachers called Holocaust in the Education, which is organized by the Terezín Memorial in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic. Its 12th year took place within 22nd – 25th November 2012.

Why to call the seminar international? Although participants are Czech teachers, foreign languages can still be heard here from lecturers who come to Terezín from various international institutions and museums which deal in the Holocaust education. Some of the lecturers came to the seminar repeatedly  – for example Mr. Piotr Setkiewicz and Ms. Marta Berecka from the StateMuseum in Osvetim, Mr. Ivan Kamenec from the Slovak Academy of Science, Ms. Miriam Mouryc from Yad Vashem, Mr. Christoph Kreutzmüller from the House of the Wannsee Conference.

View of former loft theatre in the Magdeburg barracks, where part of the seminar took place

View of former loft theatre in the Magdeburg barracks, where part of the seminar took place

The HolocaustMuseum in Washington this time sent Ms. Sarah Ogilvie to introduce the work of local museum educators, the House of Anna Frank was represented by Ms. Inger Schaap, and, after years, cooperation with the London’s ImperialWarMuseum was established again and Ms. Rachel Donnelly came to Terezín to present its educational activities.

Even though it is an international seminar, part of the program is lectured also in Czech. Mr. Petr Lhotka talks about the persecution of the Romanies in the European scale, and the floor is also given to the Prague Jewish Museum and Ms. Zuzana Pavlovská along with Mr. Jan Černý who introduce the institutional project “Unwelcome Strangers“. Great success follows also the presentation of Mr. Martin Šmok, who represents the foreign institution of USC Shoah Foundation in the USA, and informs teachers about the use of the Centre of visual history Malach.

Presentation of the school work hold by the participants, Dagmar Boudová from České Budějovice

Presentation of the school work hold by the participants, Dagmar Boudová from České Budějovice

A very important feature of the seminar Holocaust in Education is that its participants are not just passive listeners, but they have the opportunity to actively participate in the workshops, to discuss the issues with teachers, and to gain many interesting and useful methods, approaches and much experience to teach about this subject. Teachers also highly appreciate the opportunity to talk about their work with each other, as it is very beneficial for them. Participants´ presentations of own projects and teaching activities also belong to valuable points of the program.

In two evenings, participants are offered cultural theatre performances, which are thematically linked to the seminar content. This year, teachers had the opportunity to see the children´s opera Brundibar performed by the Disman Radio Children´s Ensamble under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Flegl. The musical accompaniment was supplied by the orchestra Archioni Plus Michala Macourka. The second performance to see was the drama “Mr. Theodor  Mundstock“, acted by Mr. Jaroslav Achab Haidler. J. A. Haidler works in the Drama Studio in Ústí nad Labem, where he can be currently seen in the performance The Poor in Lodz about Chaim Rumkowsky.

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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.