EHRI Seminar in Prague 'Engaging Educators': “Researchers Engaging Educators Vice Versa"

Engaging Educators Seminar in Prague
Wednesday, 23 August, 2023

From August 7th to 11th, the Jewish Museum in Prague in partnership with the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History, organized the first international EHRI Seminar tailored to educators teaching the Holocaust in educational institutions like schools, museums, and memorial sites. Seventeen educators from twelve countries gathered in Prague's historic Josefov quarter, kindly hosted by the Jewish Museum, to discuss challenges in Holocaust education and explore ways in which EHRI and its network could enhance innovative teaching practices.


EHRI's digtial resources

The first day of the Seminar focused on EHRI's digital resources, including the newly launched Geospatial Repository, the EHRI Portal, the Podcast series "For the Living and the Dead", and the Online-Editions. Participants engaged in lively discussions about the usability of these tools in their teaching and their relevance for classroom settings. Additionally, Zuzana Pavlovská, the head of the Jewish Museum Prague’s Educational Department, introduced the IHRA’s Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust. This session was followed by presentations from Kiera Fitzgerald (The Wiener Holocaust Library London) and Martin Liepach (Fritz Bauer Institut Frankfurt am Main), who introduced their institutions' educational initiatives. The day ended with a guided tour of Prague's historic Jewish quarter, including visits to the Old-New Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, and the old Jewish Cemetery.


On the second day, the group went on an excursion to Terezín, a former garrison town that was used by the National Socialist Regime as a Ghetto, mainly for Jews from the “Protectorate” and the Reich. There, the participants were introduced to the Memorial’s remodeling plans and its educational programme. During a tour to the former compound, the group took a closer look into the history of the Theresienstadt Ghetto, gaining insights into the daily life aspects of the inmates.

The following day, participants delved deeper into the utilization of primary sources and teaching materials. Under the guidance of Jana Turanska, an interactive session explored the educational resources offered by Centropa. Russell Alt-Haaker (IfZ) presented the Edition “The Persecution and Murder of the European Jews by Nazi Germany, 1933–1945” and underscored the value of this unique source edition, particularly for educators. Furthermore, Jan Šteffl (Jewish Museum in Prague) gave insights in his PhD project that concerns biomedical considerations after the Nuremberg Trials. The day's programme concluded with a return visit to the Jewish Museum in Prague, followed by a tour of the Klausen and Maisel Synagogues.


On the fourth day of the Seminar, the group visited Lidice, a historical site in the Czech Republic. In 1942, German police forces perpetrated a massacre among Lidice’s male population, abducting women and children and leaving the entire village destroyed. After a tour through the former village and a visit to the memorial’s museum, the participants had the chance to visit the Lidice Collection of Fine Arts, an art gallery located in the new part of the Lidice village, that was erected after the war. After the excursion, participants had the chance to discover the MemoMap Prague tool, which was developed by the Masaryk Institute, a partner institution within the EHRI consortium, and introduced by Aneta Plzáková.


On August 11th, after five intensive days, the Seminar concluded with a reflection on the excursion to Lidice and some closing remarks of Pavla Niklová, the Director of the Jewish Museum in Prague. Emma Abbate, a high school teacher from Italy, shared her impressions and thoughts on the Seminar:

“A vibrant community of educators eager to share their experiences was the perfect background of this educational and emotional trip.”

Yonathan Bar-On, a teacher from Israel underscored the need of a closer cooperation between academic research and Holocaust Education:

“Researchers engaging educators vice versa: academics and teachers, working hand in hand, teaching and learning from each other. Unfortunately, we do not have too many opportunities for this (academics and high schools, seldom the two shall meet).” 

All images: Jewish Museum in Prague