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Blog Archives: Holocaust Education

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Concluding the Program: The Final Day

Every year we conclude our program with an entire morning with Professor Robert Jan van Pelt.  Professor van Pelt engaged the teachers in an intense discussion about the study of the Holocaust, covering a range of topics from the inner-workings of Death Camps to a discussion on when the Holocaust began. 

After this intense morning, we had a working lunch to wrap up the discussion.  Participants were then given “open mic” time, where each one spoke about their experience participating in the Summer Institute, and what they will bring to their classrooms from the week.  Each one of our European teachers invited American guests to visit them in their home countries, and plans were made for a reunion. 

We concluded the program after lunch.  It was an exceptional Summer Institute, and I am already looking forward to SIT 2012!

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Covering New Ground and Probing Further: Day 3 of the Summer Institute

This morning we began with a tour-de-force from Professor Jeffrey Burds, who lectured about the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.  Professor Burds focused on the major differences in how Jews were persecuted in Eastern and Western Europe, explaining his thesis on why the Holocaust was carried out so brutally and openly in the East. 

After discussing the lecture in break-out groups, participants were able to absorb what was learned and once again present ideas to each other on how to incorporate the subject matter into a lesson.

We then heard from Sheila Hanson, a former teacher who now works at the USC Shoah Foundation.  Sheila walked our teachers through the Shoah Foundation’s testimony library, and showed teachers how the Shoah Testimonies can be used in the classroom. 

Finally, we got to hear from our beloved Board President Roman Kent, a survivor, who told his incredible story.  Roman is a paragon of goodness, and we were all incredibly moved by his story.  We also had the pleasure of seeing his wife, Hannah, who is also a survivor.  Roman closed by reminding us that love has no limit, and there is no place in our life for prejudice. 

After his lecture, each teacher got a copy of Roman’s book, Lala, which was gifted by Roman himself.  Everyone lined up to thank Roman and get their copies signed.

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Meeting teachers in Illinois

Tomorrow I leave for Skokie, IL where I am presenting at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s Summer Institute on the Holocaust, their annual teacher education program.  In addition to meeting new teachers, and hopefully seeing some of our Alfred Lerner Fellows, I will be speaking on the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust with an emphasis on rescue in Poland.  I look forward to an interesting and energizing two days of taking part in the education program of one of our Centers of Excellence.

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