Friday, 25 April 2014

Teachers learning to use Holocaust testimonies in classes

ČTK |
13 August 2012

Prague, Aug 12 (CTK) - Czech teachers will start learning in Prague on Monday to use in their lessons the testimonies of Holocaust survivors that the American USC Shoah Foundation - the Institute for Visual History and Education has gathered, the foundation has told CTK.

The foundation has recorded almost 52,000 testimonies.

On Monday 14 teachers from across the Czech Republic will start to be acquainted with the programme in the Malach Visual History Centre of the Mathematical-Physical Faculty of Charles University.

They will be followed by 17 teachers from Ukraine.

According to the foundation, the participants will create their own educational projects and activities based on the witnesses' testimonies.

The teachers who will be acquainted with the programme will pass their knowledge on to their colleagues. Gradually, a network of teachers who will use digital media to improve students' education will be created.

The foundation that collects testimonies by Holocaust and war events witnesses, was founded by U.S. director Steven Spielberg in 1994 in reaction to the experience he gained during shooting the Schindler's List film.

The Czech-born Oskar Schindler employed in his factories in Poland and in the Svitavy vicinity, east Bohemia, more than 1000 Jews and so saved them from death in concentration camps.

Gradually, almost 52,000 video testimonies of Jews who passed through concentration camps, persecuted and imprisoned homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, political prisoners, Romanies, victims of Eugenics programmes or participants in the trials of war criminals were recorded.

They have been provided in 32 languages in 56 countries.

The archive has been accessible in the Czech Republic through the Malach centre since 2010.

The foundation became part of the scientific institute of the University of Southern California in 2006. It aims to fight prejudices, intolerance and fanaticism through the recordings.

It continues recording the stories of people who have survived genocide. Witnesses from Rwanda or Armenia will be added to the database.

The programme was started with a seminar at Central European University in Budapest in July. Polish teachers will undergo the schooling after Czechs and Ukrainians in the autumn.

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