EACH YEAR in January, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem offers the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators
It is an intensive 18 day program with lectures, group discussions, films and survivor testimony. Several field excursions are also included. Pedagogic workshops are given throughout the course for secondary school teachers. Participants are able to access the wide range of materials located in the Yad Vashem Archives and the Resource Centre.
Unit Raoul Wallenberg of B’nai B’rith in association with Courage to Care (Vic) Inc. and Gandel Philanthropy offers study grants for teachers and educators to participate in this program. The Study Grants cover the cost of fees, travel to Israel, accommodation and meals. Applications close at the end of June each year.
If you are a practicing secondary school teacher in Victoria, and are interested, contact us.
About the teachers and methods
“The program included lectures by internationally recognised scholars. There were some superb teachers!”
“The type of teaching which is encouraged by Yad Vashem is cross-curricular – using art, film, literature, poetry and history.”
“I liked the balance between theory and practice – I particularly appreciated the pedagogy for classroom use.”
“I’ve done my Masters in Melbourne on how to be relevant to students, but here I received real strategies. It’s been so valuable! Relevance for Australia As a teacher working with young people every day I witness xenophobia and see at first hand pro-Australian sentiment being used as a mask for racism.”
“Pro-nation can turn into anti-everything else. Those who know about the Holocaust know how dangerous the consequences of exclusion can be.”
“A seed has been sown in each of the course participants as we pass on education about perpetrators, bystanders and victims, and empower young learners to be compassionate and act on injustice and intolerance towards others.”
“I have been back in Australia for three weeks now. In that time I have already been booked to speak at three community functions. Teachers at my school have asked me to speak to their classes; another school has invited me to speak there.”
From the director of the program:
“Essentially, we do our best to lay the groundwork for developing a dialogue – not only with us here at Yad Vashem but also with your students, colleagues, community and environment.”
From the participants:
“The diversity of the group was very important – we met teachers from private and public schools, religious and secular, city and country. The group was very supportive, which created a quality learning community. The Learning Experience I was fortunate to listen to Shoah survivors, including two Schindler survivors, people who hid in holes, barns and attics, and a girlhood friend of Anne Frank’s. My students will listen to the tapes I made and watch the videos.”
“From Yad Vashem I learned that we need to teach the Holocaust through the lives of people! Talk about the perpetrators and the bystanders as people, not as historical facts. Let the students do research on the Righteous amongst the Nations who risked their lives to save others.”
“Teachers cannot effectively teach the Holocaust without teaching about Jewish life and culture before the war. Only then can we truly understand what was lost.”
“I learned not just about the Jewish faith but about Christianity and Islam – every site we visited is significant not only for the Jewish people but for Christians and Muslims too. In Australia we debate issues of tolerance and equal rights on a daily basis.
And a final word…
“How can I respond to the words of desperation that were scribbled in the margins of books or hidden in cattle cars? They cry out in their desire to live. My response is my freedom to write. My response is my freedom of expression. My response is my freedom to teach. My response is my freedom to inform and to challenge. My response is to live always with enthusiasm and love.”