Educators from Poland at the Yad Vashem Institute
12 days of the seminar for teachers, educators as well as employees of Memorial Sites from Poland, organized in Jerusalem within the framework of cooperation between Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust came to its end.
“The project is realized in three stages: its first part consists in the participation in preparatory seminar organized at the Auschwitz Memorial, then the seminar in Jerusalem as well as the summary seminar”, said Marta Berecka, Head of ICEAH Educational Projects as well as coordinator of this year’s edition of the project. “Participation in the seminar is a unique experience making it possible to discover new teaching methods, exchange experience as well as establish cooperation between the representatives of schools or other Polish institutions involved in teaching about the Holocaust”, Berecka added.
The subject of the seminar “Judaism – History and Culture of Polish Jews – the Holocaust” realized in Jerusalem was concentrated on historical aspects, but it was as well complemented foe example with the topic of Polish-Jewish relationships. The program of the seminar, apart from lectures among others by Dr. Raphael Vago, Dr. Noa Mkayton, Dr. Birte Hewera and Alex Dancyg, included also practical workshops. Important part of the program consisted in the meeting with the survivor Alona Frankel as well as the participation in Sabbath ceremonies in the synagogue.
For each educator, both teacher as well as Memorial Site guide, the seminar at the Yad Vashem Institute is an extremely moving experience. During the lectures, main topics concerning subsequent stages of the Shoah were presented, while in the workshop part, the participants had the opportunity to discover the methods as well as a rich collection of educational materials suggested by Yad Vashem. Meetings with survivors always constitute a separate event in itself. The seminar made it possible to build a creative space for the exchange of opinions between Polish and Israeli educators. Together we are able to do much more.
Marcin Cielecki, teacher – 1st Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School in Olsztyn
The seminar constituted an unforgettable experience. It was truly multidimensional. Teachers from all over the world, representing different teaching levels; teachers of History, Polish, English, educators having the contact with young people visiting the museum, guides – such perspective made the discussions and the exchange of thoughts inspiring and sincere. A big advantage of such a varied group consisted in the attitude to workshops and lectures, dedicated and authentic, with constant willingness to ask questions. History lesson, objective perspective as well as personal experience shared for example by Alex Dancyg, Alona Frankel, Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel, Michel Kichka were for everybody the source of deep emotions and reflection. I will use the educational suggestions and materials which I took with me to organize interesting lessons for middle school students, who need unconventional attitude towards history and real conversation very much.
Elżbieta Grochola, Polish language teacher – Community Primary School and Middle School of the Educational Association in Gorzów Wielkopolski
I will keep the seminar at Yad Vashem in my memory for a long time. The lectures and meetings importantly broadened my horizons concerning Jewish culture and religion as well as the Shoah itself. The workshops showed an innovate way of teaching about this difficult and tragic moment in history – the Holocaust. I will be able to have much more unconventional classes with my students by telling them about my visit in Jerusalem, to gain their interest in the uniqueness and difference of the Chosen People. Visiting the synagogue during Sabbath, meeting with Jakub Weksler, rabbi’s lecture on Judaism, a visit to Jerusalem, Masada, Haifa and Akka – these moments constituted additional attractions of my participation in the seminar.
Wojciech Laskowski, teacher from Secondary Schools Complex in Łochów
Participation in 120 hours of seminar at the International School for Holocaust Studies at the Yad Vashem Institute constituted for me an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. I met there interesting people from all over the world representing different areas of life, who basing on multiple dimensions provided us with the overview of the history and culture of Polish Jews, their tragic fate during the Shoah as well as difficult choices to be made when the Second World War was over. It was also showed how to teach about the Holocaust in a competent and clever way in order not only to present those events, but in particular to awaken students’ empathy for other people’s suffering. I am deeply convinced that not only for me, but also for other seminar participants (teachers, guides, educators, museum staff and the employees of other institutions involved in sharing the knowledge about the Holocaust) it was an extremely inspiring experience, making it possible to acquire necessary knowledge and skills for designing different educational forms connected both with the history of Jews and the Shoah as well as contemporary State of Israel. We have received efficient teaching tools to use in our educational practice as well as a number of suggestions where to look for more materials, publications and examples of lesson plans concerning this subject.
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań Professor Danuta Konieczka-Śliwińska, Ph.D., Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań