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All-Ukrainian Competition of Pupils’ Research and Art Works “History and Lessons of the Holocaust”

The youngest Ukrainian Holocaust researchers met to exchange experience in the small and green city of Vorzel near Kyiv on May 4-5, 2007. Official name of this meeting was “Annual All-Ukrainian Competition of Pupils’ Research and Art Works “History and Lessons of the Holocaust”. It was solemnly opened by the organizers: head of Eurasian Jewish Congress Joseph Zissels and director of Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies Anatoly Podolsky. The participants we impressed not only by the speeches of the speakers, but also by the personality of Joseph Zissels: dissent of the 60s, organizer of the revival of Jewish community life in Ukraine.
From various regions of Ukraine: Subcarpathians, Donbas, Bukovina, Kyiv, Poltava, Galitsia – came the participants of the competition and their tutors. 23 independent works were chosen for defence. First time in the history of the competition presentations of the works were divided into thematic sessions. They were five: Babiy Yar as the Symbol of the Holocaust in Ukraine; Regional Peculiarities of the Holocaust; Personality, its Fate and Choice in the Extreme of the Holocaust; Who Saved One Life – Saved the World; the Holocaust and Heroism; Reaction of the World to the Holocaust.
Traditionally, most of the works were dedicated to the regional researches (8 works), to the heroic deed of the Righteous (3 works). Comparatively new was the topic of personality in the extreme of the Holocaust (6 works). Two round tables and a workshop with jury members on ways to present one’s research took place. Animated discussion was raised with the issues of status and groups of historical sources of the Holocaust; methods and ways of research; Ukrainian historiography of the Holocaust; Holocaust teaching through animation. Especially interesting was the discussion on social-psychological aspects of collaboration, motivation for saving Jews namely by church people, believers, atheists. Not forgotten were the issues connected with the fates and activities of the organisers (Hitler, Himmler etc) of the so-called “Final Solution of the Jewish question”.
The jury consisting of A.Podolsky (director of Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies), M.Tyaglyi (research associate of the Centre), U.Smelyanskaya (director of the Institute for Jewish Studies), Z. Kovba (associate professor at KPI University), S. Kandeeva (teachers, associate of the Centre) evaluated the research works according to the following criteria: topicality, novelty of the topic, quality of research, form of research, relevance for the competition. During the defence the criteria of fitting the time limit, answering the questions, ability to discuss and keep to one’s standpoint were taken into account.
At the feedback session topicality and novelty of most of the works was specially noted. The best researches were those developed by Leshchuk Olexander (Chernivtsi), Medvid Viktoria (Kremenets), Bilotserkivets Tetyana (Novi Sanzhary, Poltava oblast), Obukhivska Daria (Kryve Ozero, Mykolaiv oblast), Neverov Anton (Druzhkivka, Mykolaiv oblast), Ruzhitskiy Yevhen (Kyiv).
Two first prizes were given to Anastasiya Desyatova (Mishkovo-Pogorilove, Mykolaiv oblast) “Mass Execution of Jews near Voskresensk village. History of the Crime”, and Roman Semeniuk (Kremenets) “Diary of Roman Kravchenko-Berezhniy: Reflection of the Nazi Occupational Regime in Kremenets Region”.
Second best were Oleg Grinchyk (Ternopil) “The Holocaust in Ternopil Region”, Bozhana Homer (Donetsk) “The Righteous Among the Nations in Donbas”.
hird awards were given to Tarapata Maksim (Kyiv) “The Tragedy of Babiy Yar in Researches by Ukrainian Scholars” and Breus Sergiy (Brovary, Kyiv oblast) “Bitter Cup of Jewish Suffering”.
The winners received diplomas and all participants got presents – the newest academic and popular books on Ukraine in WWII and the Holocaust.
Zhanna Kovba, PhD.

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