Three Promises: The Kalef family of Belgrade, a Centropa multimedia film

“The film is a valentine to a lost Sephardic world, but one that doesn’t shy away from the horrors that destroyed that world.” Lilith Magazine, New York, March 2016



I promise I’ll protect our daughters, no matter what happens. I promise I’ll hide you, no matter who comes looking. I promise if I get out of this alive, the world will know about this priest.

Backgound: what makes Centropa different

Centropa was founded in 2000 so that they could interview over a thousand elderly Jews still living between the Baltic and the Black Seas and ask them to tell stories about the entire century, just as they lived it.

Centropa was not founded as a Holocaust-interview project. They did not use video in those interviews. Instead, Centropa’s teams spent a decade sitting in 1,200 living rooms in 15 countries, held up 25,000 old family photographs, and asked their respondents to tell stories about the people in those pictures—from the small comedies of everyday life to the great tragedies that befell them.

You can find the English language online database here. It is also available in German, Hungarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, and other languages. No one had ever captured European Jewish memory in this way before. It is sadly too late to begin such a project now (in 2020).

Using personal stories to bring history to life

That’s why films like the Kalefs of Belgrade is so important. Matilda and Breda Kalef  take us into their Sephardic Jewish community in the 1930s to tell us about cousins, aunts and uncles, Jewish holidays and family vacations. And when the Germans invaded Serbia in 1941, their mother hid her giant family photo album, grabbed her daughters and knocked on the door of a church in a nearby suburb.

In October, 1944, they returned from hiding to find their home wrecked but the photo album still there. Everyone in those photos, however—from babies to great grandmothers--had all been murdered, including all those pictured above.

This is the story Centropa tells in the award-winning film, Three Promises, which has now been shown in six international film festivals.

Teachers — and students — love this film because

  • very few of us have ever seen Holocaust-related stories about Balkan Sephardic families;
  • even fewer have seen photographs of Sephardic women dressed in traditional costume;
  • and most important, this is a film with a strong moral and ethical core to it: of reaching out, leaning in, and saving a life.

There’s a punchline to Three Promises: Father Andrej Tumpej, the priest who saved their lives, always told Breda Kalef she had a lovely voice and she really should do something with it. And did she ever!

Watch the film here:


Call for Applications: Learning from the Past – Acting for the Future. Teaching about the Holocaust and Human Rights

Zaira Bulgheroni Opportunities , , ,

An 11-week online engagement professional opportunity for teachers in Europe (21 September – 4 December 2020)

Call for applications

This program, developed by The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI), in partnership with the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara and with support from the Council of Europe, is addressed to teachers working in Europe, who are interested to develop their competences to teach about the Holocaust and human rights.

The aim of this course is to contribute to increasing the quality of education regarding the Holocaust and human rights. The program provides a rich opportunity to integrate national and international approaches in teaching about these topics and in understanding the contemporary relevance of this important part of modern history.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Develop teachers’ awareness of historical and current dialectical discussions concerning the Holocaust and other instances of social injustice;
  • Develop teachers’ understanding of the impact of stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination at individual, group and societal level;
  • Develop teachers’ understanding of Jewish history and Roma history before and after World War II;
  • Increase appreciation for innovative, student-centered teaching methods, including extra-curricular activities and partnerships between schools and other institutions and organizations;
  • Promote a blended approach to Holocaust education and Human Rights education.

A group of 40 teachers from across Europe will have the opportunity to attend the online course. Following the course, teachers will receive support to put into practice what they learned and develop local projects with their students. They will be able to access a Mini-grant Program which offers financial support and educational counseling.

The duration of the course is 11 weeks. The engagement required from the teachers is 2-3 hours per week. The methods used in the course will consist of both synchronous and asynchronous activities such as: webinars, discussion forums, collaborative work, video, individual and group assignments, readings, etc. Participants will create an account on the course platform where they will be able to access all the materials, as well as to communicate and collaborate with the other participants. Every week, a new module of the course will become available for participants and the learning process will be organized and supported by two facilitators, while guest speakers will address participant's live or through recorded videos.

Applications are welcome from teachers who:

  • Teach high school or middle school students in a Member State of the Council of Europe
  • Have some experience teaching about the Holocaust (have taught this topic at least one semester before)
  • Are committed to teaching about the Holocaust following their participation in this program
  • Are able to attend the program for its entire duration and to contribute to the program’s activities
  • Have basic skills to operate computers
  • Have good English language skills (at least B2)
  • Have not been previously involved in a seminar on the Holocaust organized by The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI).

Application deadline: September 11, 2020.

In order to apply for this course, please fill in the form available at the link below, no later than 11 September 2020:

You can find out more about TOLI programs in Europe at:

For any questions, please contact us at:

Learning from the Holocaust: A Teachers’ Guide on Visiting a Concentration Camp

Ever thought of organizing a student excursion to a former concentration camp, but don't know how to approach it? Many teachers feel underqualified to address sensitive and heavy topics like the Holocaust, and without the right resources, may choose to avoid the topic altogether. What questions do you ask your students before the visit? What kind of reflection do you prompt on arrival? What are the main thoughts students should take away from such an experience?

Thankfully, Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) have compiled a useful set of guidelines for educational visits to former concentration camps, with materials that include:

  • terms and key concepts
  • reflection questions
  • research inquiry questions
  • preparation and post-visit discussion points

Learning from the Holocaust: Visiting Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Learning from the Holocaust: Leaving Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Discovering Common Ground through the Holocaust

Last Summer, from 30 August until 1 September, history teachers from Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met in Skopje for the joint educational seminar “The Holocaust as a starting point: comparing and sharing”. Through sharing academic approaches in teaching and getting a better understanding of the history of the Holocaust, teachers from both countries discovered new common grounds.

The seminar was organized by the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews from Macedonia and Memorial de la Shoah, based in France.  And EuroClio is very glad that its member organisations from Bulgaria (Bulgarian History Teachers’ Association) and Macedonia (History Teachers’ Association of Macedonia) enabled the event by mobilising their members and cherishing EuroClio’s methodology. Within the seminar two pedagogical workshops on new forms of antisemitism in social media and how to deal with racial prejudice were held, as well as discussions on the history of antisemitism, the Holocaust in Europe and remembrance culture. Participants also had a chance to visit Monopol, the tobacco factory from where more than 7,000 Macedonian Jews were deported to Treblinka in 1943.

Due to the success of this seminar, the newly discovered commonalities regarding the Second World War and well-received workshops, a second joint seminar will be held in Bulgaria in 2018. For more information about the cooperation, please contact Bistra Stoimenova and Mire Mladenovski or Memorial de la Shoah directly.

Seminar on “The Role of NGOs in Remembrance of the Holocaust”

The Council of Europe – within the context of the program “Remembrance of the Holocaust and Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity” –  has organised a seminar along with the Polish Ministry of Education, the Krakow pedagogical University and the Auschwitz-Birkenau International Centre which looks at “the Role of NGOs in the Remembrance of the Holocaust“.

The event will explore the responsibility of the NGO community to ensure public memory of the Holocaust is kept alive in the absence of those who witnessed it directly. It aims to promote educational practices which target the remembrance of the Holocaust and the prevention of crimes against humanity, and will look more generally at the role of NGOs in facilitating the trans-generational transmission of memory.

Seminar on Teaching “the Holocaust by Bullets” in France

The Crucial Role of Collecting Evidence and Testimonies

From 25-27 November 2016, Yahad-In Unum and the Mémorial de Caen Museum are organising a two-day Teachers’ Seminar in France (Paris and Caen)  on how to teach “the Holocaust by Bullets” and persecutions of the Roma in Eastern Europe. This seminar is designed to deepen teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, and the Genocide of Roma in Eastern Europe. Participants will also be introduced to new teaching tools and sources. The 2016 fall session is the seventh time that this seminar is offered by Yahad. As part of the seminar, participants will be invited to visit the Caen Memorial’s permanent exhibition, including the section dedicated to the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, which is based on Yahad’s research results.

The presentations will explain the different aspects of the Holocaust in the East: various steps and process of the extermination of the Jews in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Lithuania. Other areas of focus will include killing methods; different phases of the concentration of Jews in work camps and ghettos, and the persecution of Roma communities. Speakers will discuss the various categories of actors, their roles and functions, and the points of the extermination process at which they were involved. They will also share resources designed for use in the classroom based on material provided by Yahad – In Unum.

The Seminar is intended for history teachers in high schools and secondary schools in Europe. Applications from Balkan states, Italy, Portugal, Hungary and Eastern Europe are particularly encouraged. A letter of interest and a resume can be send by September 18, 2016 to Julia Garmash.


Annual British Association of Holocaust Studies (BAHS) Conference 2016

The Presence of the Holocaust in society, politics and culture, c.1970 – 2015

The UCL Centre for Holocaust Education is hosting the annual British Association of Holocaust Studies (BAHS) conference. The conference will focus on the ‘Presence of the Holocaust’ in society, politics and culture since 1970 and explore the growth and development of Holocaust history and memory over the past four decades.

The conference is specifically concerned with how the collective conception of the Holocaust has developed since the mid to late 1970s. Ours is the generation in which Holocaust memory has grown exponentially, expanding and extending at such a rate that it not only permeates Western culture and society, but now has global proportions. Nor is there any indication of this slowing down; increased concern at the passing of survivors has given but further impetus to attempts to teach, learn, and remember the Holocaust, whilst its continued representation raises ongoing interest in its abstraction and appropriation.

Bookings Are Now Open for the BAHS Conference 2016

The Presence of the Holocaust in society, politics and culture, c.1970-c.2015

The British Association for Holocaust Studies will organise their Conference on the Presence of the Holocaust in society, politics and culture c.1970-2015, from 19 until 21 July 2016 at the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education in London. This conference is concerned specifically with how the collective conception of the Holocaust has developed since the mid to late 1970s. Ours is the generation in which the Holocaust memory has grown exponentially, expanding and extending at such a rate that it not only permeates Western culture and society, but now has global proportions. Nor is there any indication of this slowing down any time soon; instead, increased concern at the passing of survivors has given but further impetus to attempts to teach, learn, and remember the Holocaust, whilst its continued representation raises ongoing interest in its abstraction and appropriation. For more detailed information on the conference themes visit this link. Confirmed Keynote Speakers include: Professor Dan Stone (University of London), Professor Aleida Assmann (Universität Konstanz, Germany), Professor Wulf Kansteiner (Binghamton University, USA), Professor Dan Michman (The International Institute for Historical Research).

Bookings for the Conference are now open and they close Friday 1 July 2016.


Call for Proposals: “Presence of the Holocaust” Conference

In July the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education is hosting the annual British Association of Holocaust Studies (BAHS) conference: The Presence of the Holocaust, c.1970-c.2015. The conference will mainly focus on the collective conception of the Holocaust has developed since the mid to late 1970s.

UCL welcomes paper and workshop proposals from established and emerging researchers which engage with, directly or indirectly, to the presence of the Holocaust in society, politics and culture in the period c.1970-2015. The process is currently open and submissions may be send to: or to submit directly via the online form at The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 30 March.

Contact the organisers: the conference is directed by Dr Arthur Chapman ( and the admin team on

For more information on the conference see our Events page here, or click here to go to the UCL website.

Join International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Conference on Education about Holocaust

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Center for History Teaching & Learning and Recalling the Past of the University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland are pleased to announce their International Research Conference on Education about the Holocaust. This conference, which will be the concluding event of IHRA’s Education Research Project, will be held from 14-17 February 2016 at the University of Teacher Education Lucerne (PH Luzern), Switzerland.

The Education Research Project aims to provide an overview and a mapping of knowledge coming out of empirical research studies about teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The goal is to establish what can really be stated from empirical research about the current state of Holocaust education, taking us beyond anecdotal experiences and programmatic texts, in order to identify the key challenges and opportunities.

To find out more about the conference, please have a look at the programme. Participation to the conference is free. You can find more information about registration for contributors here. For registration for participants, please visit the registration page.