Teachers Learn of Life After Holocaust
HOUSTON, TX (July 6, 2011) – Teachers from across the United States and from Lithuania and Croatia are gathering this week at Holocaust Museum Houston for an intensive four-day institute designed to teach them about what life was like after the Holocaust.

Featuring renowned Holocaust scholars and noted historians, the 2011 Max M. Kaplan Summer Institute for Educators at the Museum moves beyond the general history of the 20th century’s greatest genocide to explore the various dimensions and implications of the Holocaust and other mass murders. The institute, held July 5-8, is now in its eighth year and provides educators substantive content and the opportunity to network with internationally known scholars and teachers from around the world.

“It’s a really wonderful opportunity for teachers with various backgrounds to come together and learn from scholars of the highest quality,” said Mary Lee Webeck, the Museum’s director of education. “The educators network with others who are interested in teaching these dark subjects, and as they learn and interact they become more knowledgeable in both pedagogic strategies and content expertise.”

The teachers, including two from Croatia and two from Lithuania, were selected to participate in the program after going through an application process. Preference was shown toward teachers who previously studied the Holocaust and those who have participated in previous educational programs at the Museum.

The four-day event includes presentations from nine speakers, each of them experts on life after the Holocaust. Among the speakers is an internationally recognized authority on the history of the infamous death camp Auschwitz, Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt.

Van Pelt teaches at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and is the recipient of many academic honors, including the National Jewish Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the title of “University Professor.” An internationally recognized authority on the history of Auschwitz, van Pelt chaired the team that developed a master plan for the preservation of Auschwitz.

The educators will also hear from Dr. Hyman Penn, a Houston-area pediatrician and docent at Holocaust Museum Houston, who will share the stories of his parents who endured the trials of the Holocaust and met each other in a displaced persons’ camp in Austria.

Dr. Graham Cox, a faculty member at The University of Texas-Pan American, and Dr. Mary Johnson, a senior historian at Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization that offers curricular resources and professional development opportunities for teachers, will both present on justice after the Holocaust on Wednesday, July 6.

Carey Conner and Matthew Remington, visual arts educators at The University of Texas at Austin and Warren Fellows in 2009, will follow their presentations with workshops on how to connect students to the Holocaust and other genocides through the creation of art trading cards.

Their discussions will be followed by a lecture by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust and professor of Jewish studies at the American Jewish University, located in California. Berenbaum offers his expertise as he discusses life after the Holocaust.

He is a writer, lecturer and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films, who has written or edited 20 books, scores of scholarly articles and hundreds of journalistic pieces. He is currently at work on the Memorial Museum to Macedonia Jewry in Skopje.

The teachers will spend Thursday, July 7 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for a special screening of Claude Lanzmann’s documentary “Shoah.” Holocaust scholars van Pelt and Berenbaum will introduce and discuss the award-winning 9 1/2-hour documentary, which features interviews with survivors, bystanders and perpetrators in 14 countries, at the first screening on Thursday, July 7, 2011, beginning at 10 a.m. at the MFAH’s Caroline Wiess Law Building, Lower Level, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005.

A second screening of the film will take place July 9-10, with Part One shown at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Part Two shown on Sunday at the same time. The screenings are open to the public, with general admission costing $10 for one part of the two-part documentary and $15 for both parts. MFAH and HMH members, students with appropriate IDs, seniors and members of the MFAH Film Buffs will receive a $2 discount. For tickets and more information, visit www.mfah.org.

On Friday, July 8, Johnson will lead a session on how educators can use the lessons from “Shoah” to teach their students about the Holocaust and other genocides. Her presentation will be followed by a second visit to the MFAH to view photographs of war and genocide with Anne Wilkes Tucker, a renowned curator of photographic works who was named by Time magazine as “America’s Best Curator” in 2001.

Participants from Houston in this year’s institute include: KaLynne Bennet from Hastings High School; Jennifer Haynes and Cheryl Mitchell from The Kinkaid School; Jose Martinez from Francis Elementary School; Mark McNeil from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory; Katie Ransdell from Alief Hastings High School; Gloria Rosenkrantz from Houston Community College Southwest Campus; and Michael Segrist from Sam Rayburn High School.

Other Texas teachers attending are:  Carey Conner from The University of Texas at Austin; Christin Day from West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College, Amarillo; Amy Headley from Rizzuto Elementary, LaPorte; Katie Hill from the Hardin Independent School District and Deborah Lowry from Hardin Intermediate School, Hardin; Angela Martin from Barrow Elementary, Brazoria; Diane Reitmyer from Strack Intermediate, Klein; Kathy Roark from Southwest High School, San Antonio; Jan Robertson from George Bush High School, Richmond; and Dennis White from the Lamar Institute of Technology, Beaumont.

Three teachers are coming from different states: Nick Coddington from Charles Wright Academy, University Place, WA; Gretchen Cole-Lade from Enid High School, Enid, OK; and Barry Coleman from Magnolia Heights School, Senatobia, MS.

In addition to the United States educators, two teachers hail from Croatia — Branka Cacic from Karlovac and Nino Sertic from Rijeka — and two from Lithuania — Virginija Dudiene and Rita Juskeviciene.

This educator training program has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; the Max M. Kaplan Teacher Education Fund; the Chevra Kadisha Holocaust Studies Scholarship Fund; the Lea K. Weems Memorial Scholarship Fund; and United Airlines, the official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.
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