Holocaust education in Kosovo

Donika Xhemajli EUROCLIO , ,

History Teacher Association of Kosovo publish handbook on holocaust education    

As a result of the involvement of History Teachers Association of Kosovo, HTAK, in EuroClio’s project “History that Connects ‘’, its members were offered opportunities to take part in many trainings and different study visits in order to develop their professional capacity.

As part of these activities, one of the Association members participated in training at the Yad Vashem – World Memorial Holocaust Center in Israel. This was the beginning of the contact and communication required to start cooperation. The Association did not cease in its efforts to find opportunities for internal support for conducting a study visit at Yad Vashem which would involve a larger number of members. This was because Kosovo teachers needed to improve their professional ability to teach on the Holocaust in their classroom lessons.

The Association gained support from ForumZFD, a German organization that works on Dealing with the Past and Peace Education. This enabled the initiative to become reality. At first, our initiative was to organize a study visit in Israel and it ended with the publication of alternative teaching material about the Holocaust.

A number of local trainings were also organized, which increased the cooperation with other international organizations involved in this subject. They were: the Center for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin, the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the final addition to this group was an NGO called New Perspektiva, which works in Kosovo on opening up thinking on the multi-perspective methodology of teaching history with the aim of encouraging open-minded learning.

In 2017 the HTAK and ForumZFD, with the support from Kosovo Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, MESTI, organized a one-week training visit to Yad Vashem.  Afterward, with the support of all the organizations mentioned above, the HTAK members worked on drafting the teaching Handbook on the Holocaust, and in 2021 the Handbook was launched. The Education Minister and the Deputy German Ambassador in Kosovo were present at this event. The Acting Kosovo Ambassador in Israel informed and invited the representatives of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yad Vashem, which lead to their participation online. The Handbook is published in three languages, Albanian, Serbian and English, and will be used by history and civic education teachers for classes IX to XII. The Handbook is also published on the official website of the Kosovo Ministry of Education and is accessible for all. The Handbook is in complete harmony with the curricula framework which was approved by MESTI in 2016. 

We believe this Handbook will not only be used by the teachers but it will also have a direct impact on students in Kosovo. They will have the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust from different, original, and verifiable sources. However, the Handbook’s advantage is that it has a multi-perspective approach, which will encourage and develop independent and critical thinking. At the same time, this methodology can be used by the publishing houses in Kosovo as a model to advance school textbooks in the future by using different sources which will have a multi-perspective approach.



The Pilecki Project

Instytut Pileckiego wishes to announce the launch of “The Pilecki Project” - a new educational initiative about Witold Pilecki. He volunteered to infiltrate Auschwitz, where he witnessed and reported on the beginnings of the Holocaust. His reports from the camp reached the Allies in London. After escaping from Auschwitz and surviving the war, Pilecki went on to fight against the communist takeover of Poland.

The Pilecki Project was created by the Pilecki Institute in cooperation with the Polish National Foundation.

The participants of the Pilecki Project will have the opportunity to:

  • explore the story of Witold Pilecki and the events that shaped him
  • learn or improve their digital skills by working on their original videos, animations or podcasts
  • practice cooperation, dialogue, planning and systematic implementation of tasks
  • analyze different types of sources and learn to utilize the newly gained information.

Who can take part in the project?

High school, college and university students from the United States and Canada. Gather a group of friends to start a Pilecki Team, with which you will embark on the Pilecki Project adventure. You can also choose to work alone. Underaged participants will be required to submit a declaration signed by their parents or legal guardians.

What is the main task?

The final result of the project will be your original digital piece, created in the form of your choosing:

  • video
  • animation
  • podcast

Sign up on the website: https://instytutpileckiego.pl/pl/wydarzenia/the-pilecki-project

Deadline: 9 February 2021


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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TOLI-Europe.

You can find out more about TOLI programs in Europe at: https://www.toli.us.

For any questions, please contact us at: edu@intercultural.ro.

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

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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

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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.