UK teachers visit Israel on Holocaust Education training tri.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Educatio)
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
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
Lectures focused on topics such as theological responses to
the Holocaust, the “Final Solution” and everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto,
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
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
“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.”
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
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
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
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
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.”
of our participants have been chosen for their commitment and motivation to
developing their understanding in this area,” he added.
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.