The „Holocaust in Education“ seminar in Terezín

On 26 through 29 November 2009, the Terezín Memorial hosted the ninth edition of the Holocaust in Education seminar, co-organized by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as a continuation of the How to teach about the Holocaust seminar.

Workshop Wolfa Kaisera v půdním divadle Magdeburských kasárenThe present edition was attended by 49 teachers and 12 lecturers not only from the Czech Republic, but also from Slovakia, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, USA and Poland. The lecturers presented methods that can be used in the teaching process (and not restricted to only history lessons). Apart from lectures in history focusing on the course of and places related to the Holocaust in several European countries, the participants could also learn about various didactic approaches to the topic at hand, the way they are handled by several memorial institutions dedicated to studies of history and education of the Holocaust, which was undoubtedly of high interest to those in attendance.

This subject was presented, among others, by Chava Baruch from the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel, Wolf Kaiser from the Conference House in Wannsee, Germany or Jane Redman from the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands. The principles and resources of the USHMM’s Holocaust education were presented by Jennifer Ciardelli. A highly interesting workshop with works of art created in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp was headed by Marta Berecka of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Ivan Kamenec from the Institute of Historical Studies of Slovak Academy of Sciences dedicated his lecture to the Holocaust in Slovakia, while Piotr Setkiewicz from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum talked about the history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and its role in the so-called “final solution of the Jewish question”. The genocide of the European Roma was discussed by Petr Lhotka.  Martin Šmok from the Shoah Foundation Institute provided an extremely captivating presentation of a database of film interviews with survivors, shot almost all over the world. The Jewish Museum in Prague also presented its activities.

The programme further included presentations by some of the participating teachers who introduced their colleagues to projects realized in their schools, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.

There was also an art block in the programme. The 1962 film Transport From Paradise , directed by Zdeněk Brynych and based on short stories by Arnošt Lustiga, shot directly in the authentic Terezín exterior and interior locations, was projected. Apart from the film, there was  the traditional Friday evening production of opera by H. Krása and A. Hoffmeister Brundibár (supplemented by a recital based on poems by children of the Terezín ghetto, put to music by M. Macourek) as presented by the Disman Radio Child Choir (led by Zdena and Václavem Flegl) and the Archioni Plus orchestra, conducted by Michal Macourek. On Saturday, Jaroslav Haidler of the Ústí Theatre Company presented his adaptation of L. Fuks’s novelMr Theodor Mundstock , as a one-man show stage production. This was followed by a lively discussion with this actor and scholar in the field of Judaic studies.

St

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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.