Through impactful professional development programming and organizational partnerships, the American Society for Yad Vashem Education Department raises awareness about the Holocaust and empowers and sustains educators nationwide to bring the lessons of the Holocaust to their classrooms. We also disseminate Holocaust education resources developed by Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies to promote the mission of Yad Vashem to remember, honor and memorialize the Holocaust through education.

 

BARBARA GUTFREUND ARFA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

 

Our annual Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Professional Development Conference on Holocaust Education provides educators with innovative resources and techniques to teach students about the Holocaust and sustain the lessons of this event for present and future generations.

The Conference’s impact is effective and dramatic: over its 23 year history, the Conference, through its thousands of participants, has touched more than 100,000 students. In 2019, over 190 educators attended the Conference, which was organized by Marlene Warshawski Yahalom, PhD, Director of Education of the American Society. The Conference represents a continued collaborative effort among the American Society, the Association of Teachers of Social Studies of the United Federation of Teachers, the Educators’ Chapter of the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee, and the School of Education of Manhattanville College.

For the Conference and its other educational works, the American Society received the 2015 President’s Award for its contributions to social studies education nationally. The award commends the American Society for implementing best educational practices in using documents, inquiry, critical thinking and action for studying the Holocaust. The Conference is one of many educational programs developed by the American Society for Yad Vashem.

 

The Conference is named in memory of Barbara Gutfreund Arfa, z’l, a longstanding supporter of the American Society and is sponsored by the Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education. This fund was created by Harvey Arfa and Caroline and Morris Massel as a tribute to Barbara Arfa’s commitment to Holocaust education.

 

Our Education Department led by our Director of Education, Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD., offers:

  • Regional Professional Development Conferences for Educators
  • On-Site and/or Virtual Professional Development Workshops
  • Pages of Testimony Workshops
  • Traveling Exhibitions
  • Curriculum Units on the Holocaust
  • Holocaust Remembrance and Commemoration Programs
  • Speaker and Community Events
  • Collaborative events with Yad Vashem Jerusalem
  • Co-Sponsorships with National and International Holocaust Education Organizations

 

TRAVELING EXHIBITS – To Request a Traveling Exhibit Click Here

Our Education Department offers traveling exhibits that are recommended for commemoration programs, professional development workshops and classroom instruction. Each exhibit includes a presentation of an introduction to the specific theme of the exhibit, a narrative and explanation and recommendations how to incorporate this resource into the classroom. Each exhibit is first showcased at the United Nations for annual Holocaust commemoration programs, remained in the US and is on loan through the American Society for Yad Vashem.

For more Information contact Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD, Director of Education; education@yadvashemusa.org.

 

Architecture of Murder: the Auschwitz Birkenau Blueprints: This exhibit displays images of original maps, drawings, photographs of the planning stages of Auschwitz, and the original architectural blueprints of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The original plans include images of the construction of Auschwitz-Birkenau that were mostly prepared in the fall of 1941. The plans were found in 2008 in an abandoned apartment in Berlin and purchased by the German media corporation Axel Springer, the publisher of the newspaper Bild. They were eventually given to Yad Vashem, and will be preserved for perpetuity in Yad Vashem. This exhibit was displayed at the United Nations in 2010.

 

No Child’s Play:  This exhibit opens a window into the world of children during the Holocaust. It does not focus on history, statistics or descriptions of physical violence. Instead, images of the toys, games, artwork, diaries and poems displayed here highlight some of the personal stories of the children, to provide a glimpse into their lives during the Holocaust.  This exhibit tells the story of the struggle of these children to hold on to life. It describes their attempts to maintain their childhood and youth by creating for themselves a different reality from that which surrounded them. This exhibit was displayed at the United Nations in 2006.

 

Besa: A Code of Honor:  This exhibit is about the Righteous Among the Nations – non-Jews who risked their lives saving Jews during the Holocaust. It is comprised of portraits and text about Muslim families in Albania who saved Jews during the Holocaust, converging between two seemingly opposed worlds. Prior to World War II, some 200 Jews lived in Albania. In 1943, the Albanian population refused to comply with Nazis’ orders to turn over lists of Jews residing in Albania. The remarkable assistance afforded to the Jews was grounded in Besa, a code of honor. Besa means literally “to keep the promise.” One who acts according to Besa is someone who keeps his word, someone to whom one can trust one’s life and the lives of one’s family. Impressively, there were more Jews in Albania at the end of the war than beforehand. This very human story, told through these sensitive portraits combine to highlight a little known, but remarkable aspect of the Holocaust. This exhibit was displayed at the United Nations in 2008.

 

With Me Here Are Six Million Accusers: the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem:  This includes information and visual form evidence used in the Eichmann trial and is an engaging and relevant addition to information and documentation of this cataclysmic event in Holocaust and world history. The trial of Adolf Eichmann, the mastermind behind the Final Solution, riveted the attention of the Israeli public and aroused great interest the world over. This trial embodied the first time the Holocaust was presented to a competent judicial body in full details, is all its stages and from all its aspects. Journalists from many countries covered the trial and international public opinion followed its course. This trial gave rise to discussions on a great variety of subjects on the social, political, educational, psychological and political level. To date, approximately 600 works of various categories have been published in numerous languages about the trial.  The trial also sparked intellectual controversy world-wide. This exhibit was displayed at the United Nations in 2012.

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS

And You Shall Tell Your Children: Spiritual Resistance through Survivor Testimonies
This workshop introduces strategies to educators how to use survivor testimonies and pages of testimony as a resource for studying the Holocaust through themes that are emphasized in Orthodox Jewish Day School curricula. The value of these testimonies as an educational resource is examined and the unique contributions of testimonies as a source of information about spiritual resistance and survival is presented in the context of Jewish tradition. The connection between Jewish history, remembrance and commemoration is also discussed.

Holocaust and Human Rights in the Classroom – strategies and cross-connections
This workshop offers recommendations for cross-connections of subjects taught in the classroom: history and global studies, math, English, and art and theatre, and explores the value of survivors testimonies for use as part of the lesson plans on studying the Holocaust and Human Rights. The value of primary testimony, documents and other forms of primary sources are also reviewed in connection to studying the Holocaust. Challenges to Holocaust remembrance are also introduced; Holocaust denial, and the aging and shrinking population of Holocaust survivors. This topic is also looked at in the context Genocide and Human Rights as we understand this subject with other historical examples. Character building, bullying and hate crimes are also explored as part of this workshop presentation.

Challenges of Holocaust Denial – the Internet and Beyond
This workshop reviews Holocaust Denial and the dangers it presents to Holocaust memory, history and Jewish history. Participants are introduced to strategies for classroom use to enable them to effectively teach this topic to help students identify Holocaust denial and distinguish between actual and created information about this important topic in history. Websites on Holocaust denial are also identified   explored that serve to confuse and distort information about the Holocaust. Resource materials will be distributed to all participants.

Petr Ginz and Ilan Ramon – Historical and Generational Connections
This workshop introduces the student to the Holocaust through one of its most innocent victims – the children. Participants will learn about the unique and meaningful connections between Petr Ginz – victim of Terezinstadt – and Ilan Ramon – Israel’s first astronaut to join NASA in the ill-fated space shuttle mission of 2003. Educators will learn about the unique opportunity to teach about the Holocaust through science and space while simultaneously introducing students to the value of documents and artifacts as part of this connection.

Pages of Testimony – the Importance of Historical Documentation
This workshop introduces the participant to Yad Vashem, its mission and contributions to Holocaust   research, documentation, commemoration and remembrance. Pages of Testimony are examined as a resource to preserve the facts of this event for eternity. This workshop includes many themes relevant for classroom use:  the relevance of history, honoring the victims, documentation and its connection to Jewish history, ideas for commemorative programs and activities for Yom Hashoah, and how to make this topic meaningful for students of all ages and educators of all grade levels.

 

For more information:
Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD
Director of Education
(212) 220-4304
mwy@yadvashemusa.org