The definitions, approaches, and methods of Holocaust education are constantly changing and adapting along with the ever changing world around them. The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies prides itself on providing its students with a rich and diverse understanding of the multiple meanings of Holocaust education through courses, guest lectures, and seminars. The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum welcomed our students for an intensive three-day long seminar that focused on the various educational approaches and perspectives of their Museum and Center for Humanistic Education. The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum was founded by Holocaust Survivors as a portion of their Ghetto Fighters’ House Kibbutz, Lohmei Ha’getaot. The Survivors, their children, and many newcomers, have developed and cultivated this Museum as a cornerstone of Holocaust education, remembrance, and commemoration. On the first day, our students were taken on a tour of this Kibbutz and were introduced to its unique and special history. The tour was given by Tali Shner, daughter-in-law of one of the Survivors and founders of the Museum. Later that day, the students had a lecture with Dr. Moshe Shner, the son of Holocaust survivor and one of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum founders, Zvi Shner. Dr. Shner discussed with the students various aspects of memory, identity, and education in a post-Holocaust world. Dr. Shner’s unique relation to the Holocaust and to the museum and its educational message made this lecture particullary interesting and personal.
Dr. Moshe Shner
Maintaining the focus on Holocaust Education, the students were taken on three different tours of various exhibitions by Holocaust Educators that work in the Museum. These tours showed different approaches that educators can take when using the museum space as an educational tool. The students were first taken on a tour of Yad La’yeled, the Ghetto Fighters’ House Children’s Museum by Holocaust educator Madene Shachar. The tour was followed by a deep discussion on teaching sensitive subject matter to learners of different ages and backgrounds. Yair Rubin took the students on an experiential tour of the Warsaw Ghetto Exhibition, while discussing various pedagogical methods he uses when guiding students, soldiers, police officers, and many other groups through this space. Madene Shachar
The seminar transitioned to Holocaust art as a tool for Holocaust education in an engaging discussion led by educator Nora Goan in the Art Exhibition. The students were exposed to different teaching methods that can be used with learners both in the museum space and in the classroom. Later, Evelin Akherman, the Museum Director, gave a passionate lecture about the various agents of Holocaust art. Evelin challenged the students to look deeper into what they see, and to use Holocaust art as a way to teach many powerful messages to students. Evelin Akherman
Utilizing the archives and accessibility to new and authentic material is one of the most important networks for Holocaust educators around the world. The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum has an extensive physical and digital archive. Our students were privileged to go behind the scenes and take a look at the physical archives with Archive Director Anat Bratman-Elhalel. The students explored various artifacts housed in the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum Archive and learned how to utiize the awareness of these artifacts as part of their teaching methods. The students were then shown how to access the digital archives which is crucial to their resources as Holocaust researchers and educators. Anat Bratman-Elhalel
Current student, Omri Horesh, spoke about a personal artifact his grandfather cherished for more than 50 years. Omri’s grandfather, Isaac Zalesinsky, was a young educator in pre-war Poland. In 1938, he was recruited along with other educators, by historian Emanuel Ringelblum. They were asked to participate in a mission to aid German Jews who were being brutally deported to the small town of Zbaszyn. Upon completing their aid mission, a few of the educators received napkins with drawings and dedication notes from the children that they cared for. Omri’s grandfather kept his napkin until the mid 1980s, and then donated it to the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum Archive. The students were intrigued by the amazing and personal story Omri shared with the group.
On the last day, the students had a special seminar held by Dr. David Netzer, in the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum Center for Humanistic Education. The students were exposed to the Center for Humanistic Education’s approach toward modern day Holocaust education and humanistic education in Israel. The center holds yearly seminars for high school students with the goal of creating an appreciation for democratic values, instilling moral awareness and responsibility, and to create a platform for open and effective dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian students in Israel. The students had the opportunity to meet and talk with an Israeli student and a Palestinian student who have both participated in the Center for Humanistic Education’s program. Our students were exposed to different approaches for modern day Holocaust and humanistic education.
The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies is honored and proud to offer our students many interdisciplinary and diverse seminars. The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum Seminar: Pedagogy and Holocaust Education Methods was a great success, and we look forward to future involvement with the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.
Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program? You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/