International Seminar on Methodologies of Holocaust Education for History Teachers of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova

From June 28 - 30, 2009 the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies (UCHS) together with the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) and in cooperation with the Russian Fund "Holocaust" conducted an international seminar on methodologies of Holocaust Education for history teachers in Kiev, welcoming participants from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova. It was held in frames of the program "Tolerance - Lessons of the Holocaust", initiated by EAJC. The main goal of the seminar was to provoke fruitful exchange of experiences among the teachers, each of them being advanced in dealing with Holocaust History in secondary schools.
At the opening ceremony the organizers were glad to welcome Nancy Pettit, press-attache of the Embassy of the United States of America to Ukraine, who shared with the participants her views on and personal commitment to the field of Holocaust Studies and Memory of the Holocaust.
On the following two days the teachers worked most of the time divided into two different groups, explaining their personal approaches to the teaching of Holocaust History on various topics like "Reflection of the Holocaust in Official Programs of the Ministry of Education of the Respective Countries", "Presentation and Analysis of Teaching Materials on Holocaust History in the CIS-countries", "Dealing with the Holocaust in Humanities' Education: Study of Tolerance and Human Rights", "Elaboration of New Holocaust Teaching Methodologies" and many others. Thanks to their good knowledge and honest motivation, the participants kept up their vivid exchange of experiences, also when it was time to evaluate and comment the achievements of their work in groups together in the evening.
Providing pertinent historical background as well as enlightening approaches to Holocaust Education, the round tables offered a great deal of diverse lectures, like "Memory of the Holocaust - Problems of Responsibility for the Memory of the Past" (Anatoly Podolsky, PhD in historical sciences, director of the UCHS), "Historiography of the Holocaust: Current Tendencies" (Mikhail Tyaglyy, historian, UCHS), "Overview of the Methods of Holocaust Education in the CIS and in European Context" (David Poltorak, Dr. of pedagogical science, Russian Fund "Holocaust"), "Voices of the Past: Methods of Oral History in Holocaust Studies" (Tatyana Velychko, historian), "Fiction Literature about the Holocaust" (Naum Resnychko, teacher of literature) afterwards being supplemented by the involvement of the auditorium.
After the official end of the seminar, in the course of which Josef Zisels, Chairman of the General Council of EAJC, underlined once more the importance of fostering tolerance throughout diverse societies, all non-Ukrainian participants were happy to be given an excursion to Baby Yar by Anatoly Podolsky.
Generally, it is to be said that this seminar was the first one of this kind, treating the topic of Holocaust education through interactive exchange of experiences on an international basis, indeed. But as of the positive feedback of all its participants, one conclusion to be drawn could be the following: It was not the last! On the contrary, it has been proven that the teachers, under the support of organizations like those implicated in the conduction of this very seminar, are experienced and able to cope with the challenges of Holocaust education.
Top: Nancy Pettit, opening of the seminar
Middle: Tatyana Babaryka, presenting teaching materials of Belarus
Bottom: Anatoly Podolsky, lecturing

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