Educators from Three Countries Gain New Perspective on the Holocaust

HOUSTON, TX (July 31, 2007) –Educators from three countries had the opportunity this July to learn the importance of the Holocaust and how to teach their students about one of history’s grimmest times.

Holocaust Museum Houston held its fifth annual Summer Institute for Educators from July 23-27. Twenty four educators came from the Houston area, multiple Texas cities, New York, Croatia and Hungary to learn about the Holocaust and how to implement its study in their classrooms.

Participants were chosen based on an application process. Preference was given to teachers who had previous Holocaust education, had used Holocaust Museum Houston’s educational curriculum trunks or had requested educational information from the Museum.

The Summer Institute provided a setting for teachers to work together with internationally known scholars to further their understanding of the Holocaust as they challenged themselves and each other to new ways of thinking and teaching about its concepts.

"This program is very beneficial because it acts as a networking system for teachers in continuing education. Our goal for the program was to provide continuing scholarship by introducing these teachers to new concepts and new sources of information. This program is meant to provide ongoing support to teachers who are dedicated to teaching the Holocaust," said Museum Executive Director Susan Myers.

Participants engaged in an intensive five-day program that included lectures by recognized scholars and educators. They experienced an extensive tour of the Museum’s changing exhibit "The Jews of Czestochowa: Coexistence – Holocaust – Memory" and heard readings by Houston-area Holocaust survivors from their book "The Album: Shadows of Memory." The group also participated in the Museum’s Summer Lecture series in the evening.

Speakers at both the Summer Institute and Summer Lecture series included: Dr. Michael Berenbaum on "Obligations, Implications and Consequences of Responding to Current Issues;" Mark Weitzman, discussing "Antisemitism: The Generic Hatred;" Dr. Gideon Greif, on "Auschwitz- Birkenau and The Auschwitz Album;" and Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller, who spoke on the topic "Refuge Denied – Understanding the Plight and Resonance of the St. Louis Journey."

Other speakers at the Summer Institute included Dr. William L. Shulman, president of the Association of Holocaust Organizations; Fred S. Zeidman, chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council; Dr. Christine van der Zanden, director of education, The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, New York, NY; Dr. Brent Hasty, The University of Texas at Austin; Sigmund A. Rolat, co-sponsor of the "The Jews of Czestochowa: Coexistence – Holocaust – Memory" exhibit; Dr. Simone Schweber, The University of Wisconsin; Deborah Batiste, Anti-Defamation League; Dr. Eleonora Bergman, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw, Poland; and Rebecca Johnson, of the Awty International School.

Participants and their hometowns included:

  • Houston, TX and surrounding area: Jan Connolly (Pasadena); Rick Flato (Houston); Stephanie Hostetter (Sugar Land); Ashley Howard (Houston); Rebecca Johnson (Houston); Julia Anne H. Lacy (Houston); Cynthia Longoria (Cypress); Jan Robertson (Houston); Silvia Sierra (Houston); Tina Solomon (Alvin); and Wendy Warren (Cypress).
  • San Antonio, TX: Beverly Barrett.
  • Keller, TX: Addie Enlow.
  • Lockhart, TX: Krista Lewis.
  • Odessa, TX: Lori Low.
  • Corpus Christi, TX: Sydna Arnold and Suzanne Ransleben.
  • Flusing, NY: Leah Reinstein.
  • New York, NY: Marlena Yahalom.

Participants from Hungary and Croatia included:

  • Hungary: Melinda Csajanyi; Ildiko Pataki; and Gabriella Szabo.
  • Croatia: Jelena Krpan; and Miroslav Sasic.

The Summer Institute for Educators was developed from funding given generously by Max Kaplan and his family to train teachers on strategies and approaches for bringing Holocaust education to the classroom, with special thanks to Continental 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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