A delegation of 23 teachers from across the United Kingdom took part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s 10-day teacher training program at Yad Vashem last week.

The program, which began on August 2 and ended on Sunday, was designed to “offer teachers the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the history of the Holocaust in order to develop their skills to effectively deliver Holocaust education in their classrooms.”

As part of their visit, participants attended lectures conducted by leading Holocaust academics, including Prof. Yehuda Bauer, scholars from the International School of Holocaust Studies and Dr. Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

Lectures focused on topics such as theological responses to the Holocaust, the “Final Solution” and everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto, among others.

In addition, participants attended a number of workshops aimed at “helping them improve their delivery of Holocaust education in the classroom,” including a session on using film and survivor testimony.

They also visited some of Israel’s historic sites, such as Masada and the Dead Sea.

Pete Morgan, a teacher at Beverley Grammar School, a secondary academy school in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, said that participating in the program and visiting “the world’s leading Holocaust education center [Yad VaShem]” is “a unique opportunity.”

“I am honored to be able to hear from so many expert speakers and academics in the field of Holocaust education,” Morgan said, “and I am looking forward to returning to my classroom with the tools and experience to educate my students about this challenging subject.”

“I wanted to see how Israel remembers the Holocaust,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “I am fascinated by the history of this country, and now I’ll be able to go back and talk about things with more depth and with an experience of my own.”

He added that although he has “issues with the way the Israeli state operated many times,” being in the country “showed [him] better than any book how rich and diverse it is.”

Morgan, who teaches pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 years old, explained that he believes educators shouldn’t begin teaching the Holocaust to students under the age of 14.

“I don’t think they should have contact with this until then. I believe there is a sense of innocence that should be left,” he said. “Some people do talk about it with 11-yearolds, through Anne Frank or movies like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but if I tell the story of Anne Frank to an 11-year-old, in order to protect him from the death count I’d have to refrain from giving certain information.

I feel like a bit of a gatekeeper sometimes.”

In his classroom, Morgan said, he often makes use of case studies and people’s personal stories of the Holocaust in order to induce genuine engagement in his pupils, who tend to relate to the stories better.

Later, he provides them with information on the wider and deeper context of the events.

“My approach is very much to commemorate victims and survivors and the great lengths people went to tell the story of what happened,” he told the Post. “I tell the students that as young people, they can’t change anything, but they can become part of the commemoration of telling that story.”

In addition to getting some new teaching material and ideas for his classes, Morgan said he also got to learn about commemorating the Holocaust in the context of modern Israel.

“It is so encouraging and energizing to see Israeli scholars and people from Yad Vashem making sure that history is not misused, not distorted and used in the best possible way,” he said.

Alex Maws, head of education at the Holocaust Educational Trust, which works to promote Holocaust Education in the UK through various programs for educators and students, said in a statement that the organization is “thrilled to be working with Yad Vashem to offer British teachers a specifically designed program to enhance their understanding of the Holocaust.”

“Each of our participants have been chosen for their commitment and motivation to developing their understanding in this area,” he added.

The Holocaust Educational Trust organized a variety of seminars on the subject during the year. Last month, a group of 20 British non- Jewish students visited the country on a similar trip.

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