The XVI annual summer seminar for teachers started on June 26th in the Memorial Synagogue of the Russian Jewish Congress in Moscow. Partner of the seminar were Yad Vashem, like every year, but also the Memorial de la Shoah (France). This year 40 educator form 29 regions of Russia participated at our seminar.
On the first day the Participants visited the library and the archive of the Holocaust Center as well as the Holocaust Museum in the Memorial Synagogue on the Poclonoi Gora. The head of International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vachem, the head of the Memorial de la Shoah and Ilya Altman as well as others hold speeches.
On 27th of June there was a plenary session with the topic “The Holocaust at the territory of the SU and the Commemoration” and “The Lesson of the Holocaust”, Christina Winkler (Germany) as well as Ilya Altman talked about the features of the national socialist occupation regime in the USSR and about the Holocaust Commemoration in today’s Russia. After the speeches the participants worked in groups to hold reports.
The third day of the seminar started with watching the film “Children form the Abyss”. Although many of the participants had already seen the movie, the emotional shock was big. Afterwards the participants had a round table to discuss whether the film suits for watching it with students or not.
With the panache of the emotional start the participants farther worked in groups. The first group under the direction of Alla Gerber, Noa Sigal (Yad Vashem) and Svetlana Antonova dealt with the discussion and elaboration of the methodical materials of the film “The Holocaust: the Eastern Front”. The second group, at the same time, was working on the elaboration of the methodic materials of the “Liberator” and the search and determination on the fate of the soldiers of the red army, who liberated the death camp Auschwitz. This group was under the direction of Ilya Altman, Svetlana Tichankina and Maria Gileva.
On the last day of the seminar the projects and research studies about the Holocaust were discussed.
At our XVI summer seminar the participants could qualify for the seminar in March 2017 at Yad Vashem. The results will be released in January 2017.
Interview with Christina Winkler:
I was very happy to participate in this year‘s summer school because I’ve been focusing my research of the past ten years on the Holocaust on Soviet territory. I was particularly interested to get practical insights into Holocaust education in Russia. That’s why especially the part when the teachers presented their projects was important for me because they introduced their individual teaching methods and approaches to the subject. I was quite impressed with the spectrum and can only name a few examples here but I personally really like a Russian-German cooperation between a school from Voronezh and the Free University of Berlin (FU) because it enables teachers and other potentially interested people to access interviews with former Russian slave labourers at an online platform created by the FU (http://prinuditelnyj-trud-archiv.org/ru/) and use them for their history lessons or just to get information. The project was introduced at this year’s Petersburg dialogue that took place a couple of days ago in St. Petersburg (http://prinuditelnyj-trud-archiv.org/ru/news/forum.html) which underlines the importance both countries attribute to this cooperation. But there were other great projects, I was for example very impressed by a teacher from Nevel who connected her family history with the historiography of the Holocaust under the catchy title “history doesn’t have an expiration date”. Since I personally focus on the Holocaust in Rostov-on-Don, I was of course interested in this participant’s approach to her hometown’s history. All in all, the seminar demonstrated how many very talented teachers there are throughout the country and I’m even more convinced now that I want to continue research but also engage in teaching about the Holocaust in Russia.