«Jewish Observer»
September 2002
5763 Tishrei

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The International conference for teachers of Ukrainian schools on how to teach the history of the Holocaust and anti-racism was held in Dnepropetrovsk September 3-5, 2002. The conference was organized by the Directorate of the American "Joint" programs in Eastern Europe, London Jewish center, research and enlightenment center "Tkuma" and Dnepropetrovsk regional institute for teachers' advanced studies. It was held under the aegis of the International Fund "Task Force". 130 teachers of history attended the conference. They came from different places of Ukraine (Crimea, Kiev, Kharkov, Khmelnitsky, Donetsk, Zaporoje and Dnepropetrovsk regions). Among the participants were teachers who have already got some experience in teaching the history of the Holocaust and also those who only intend to begin this important and noble work. The lectures were delivered by prominent historians from Great Britain, Holland, Israel, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

One can hardly overestimate the importance of such a meeting for raising the standard of history teaching in secondary schools of Ukraine.

The topics discussed at lectures and seminars were far beyond the traditional history course: "A new look on the Holocaust", "History of Ukrainian and Jewish relations", "Newspapers of the occupation period", "Genocide, collaboration and resistance", "History of Zionism". There were also classes about the history of Holocaust in the Crimea, Belarus and Lithuania. No doubt, the future of independent Ukraine and the future of our children greatly depend on how knowledgeable the teachers of history are. This is what the speakers at the opening ceremony emphasized. Among them were the Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Shmuel Kaminetsky, director of the "Joint" program in Dnepropetrovsk region Menakhem Lepkivker and the chief manager of London Jewish center Jerold Gotal, a representative of "Ann Frank Center" Yan Krebs and other guests and participants of the conference.

Three days of the conference were rich not only in interesting lectures but also in lively discussions, training classes, review of historical documents, videos on the history of fascism, on small Jewish towns before WWII, on the Jewish community in Lvov. Every teacher was granted manuals, reference and methodical literature that will help them in their future work. The participants said that every of them, being a representative of a certain city or methodical association, would share the experience and knowledge received with their colleagues. This important educational topic will soon take its proper place in the history course of every school. The organizers of the conference, mainly, the research educational center "Tkuma", assured those present that it would further render all necessary help on this topic to secondary schools of Ukraine.

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