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Training courses for teachers

Teaching the Holocaust

The program combines exploration of a broad range of educational approaches and teaching aids with didactic and pedagogical discussions on teaching the Holocaust and its significance in accordance with the colleges’ programs of instruction.

These in-service activities equip participants with knowledge and understanding of the limitations and possibilities of various ways of teaching this fraught topic. The basic approach is one of education in values, an orientation that focuses not only on important issues related to the Holocaust era but also discussion of their relevance and significance for Israeli society today.

Goals of the program

  • to stimulate awareness of factors that influence and shape our attitude toward the “other”;
  • to stimulate discussion of prejudice and stereotyping as a human phenomenon and a basis for discrimination;
  • to investigate manifestations of discrimination and hate crimes against the background of antisemitism, racism, discrimination (ethnic, religious, national), and xenophobia, in their historical context and in connection with Israeli society and their presence in the Western world today;
  • to enhance awareness of the overt and covert significance of these phenomena;
  • to promote tolerance of and attentiveness to different views; create involvement and commitment to coping with manifestations of discrimination and war crimes; call attention to possible responses among individuals, the public, and the establishment; and discuss universal and particularistic implications as elicited by study of racial antisemitism;
  • to examine concepts, beliefs, and statutes: the right to equality and dignity and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948);
  • to discuss relevant and current contexts of the attitude toward the other in Israeli society (e.g., discrimination in access to nightclubs, racism in spectator sports, discrimination against Ethiopian Israelis).

Teaching units on the topic of difference are accompanied by multidisciplinary methodological instruction in accordance with the program to which the participants belong. Worthy considerations in choosing among topics and methods in the teaching-and-learning process are emphasized as well.

The topics include:

  • The educational museum as an instrument for teaching the Holocaust. Two exhibitions are given as examples: “Six Million Accusers—the State of Israel Adolf Eichmann” and “Addressee Has Left—Destination Unknown” as methodological models for teaching.
  • “Racism, Antisemitism, and Human Rights”—an educational values project and a multimedia program.
  • “Youth Aliyah: the Formation of Israeli Identity”; the Teheran Children, “Being Israeli”—how those who are different are treated in a multicultural society.
  • “Israeli Society and the Holocaust”—the Eichmann trial as a turning point; the image of the Holocaust survivor in Israeli cinema; representation of the Holocaust in the contemporary cultural discourse.
  • Racism and antisemitism in the Nazi ideology –did they truly sanction genocide?
  • “Society, Medicine, and Ethics”—“euthanasia” in Nazi Germany (workshop).
  • A multimedia program on prejudice, racism, and xenophobia in Israeli society.
  • The visit to Poland as representative of dilemmas in teaching the Holocaust. The EVZ Foundation subventions this program in a way that lowers its cost to the participant to ILS 20.


Contemplating the past, shaping the present

In the workshops at Massuah, students experience a range of approaches and methodologies toward teaching the Holocaust. They discuss didactic and pedagogical aspects of teaching this fraught topic, tailored to age groups and college and university programs of instruction. Participants are exposed to possibilities and limitations of relevant teaching that centers not only on historical issues but also on discussing their significance for Israeli society today.

Multiannual training program

Year 1 – knowledge infrastructure for teaching the Holocaust at the college level, tailored to age groups

Year 2 – “Memory and Identity”: workshops at Massuah Institute.

At these workshops, participants gain experience in various didactic and educational coping models, methods for teaching the Holocaust from a multidisciplinary perspective, and tailoring of topics and teaching methods to age groups—early childhood, primary school, junior-high, and senior-high.

Year 3 – for student teachers:

An intensive day of study at Massuah’s pedagogical center on how to develop lesson plans and adapt teaching aids, with close academic and pedagogical guidance for each student.

Proposed activities for day-long visits and seminars (abridged description)


“The Ghetto – the Nazi Space” (new workshop)

Historiographic discussion of the process that brought the ghettos into existence throughout the Nazi-controlled sphere.

“The Warsaw Ghetto – between Continuity and Discontinuity”:

Daily life through the lenses of Heinz Jost’s camera. The workshop uses photographs taken by this Nazi soldier to substantiate the changes that took place in daily ghetto life as time passed.

“Chaim Rumkowski and the Jews of Łódź”

Discussion of the controversial chairman of the Łódź ghetto Judenrat by analyzing his rescue-by-labor policy. The workshop is accompanied by excerpts of source material and documentary films.

“Dilemmas of the Jewish Leadership in the Ghettos”

Patterns of Jewish leadership in the ghettos; analysis of the complexity of the value dilemmas that Judenrat and youth-movement members faced; the affair of Yitzhak Wittenberg in the Vilna ghetto as a case study.

“Is This a Man?” – The effect of routine life in the camps on the personal identity of the individual prisoner

The workshop is accompanied by video clips, excerpts of fiction, and testimonies about prisoners’ daily lives in the concentration camps; the struggle for survival; coping with the process of loss/diminution of personal identity, and relations among prisoners.

“Racism and Antisemitism in the Nazi Ideology”

Participants examine images and symbols that reflect the Nazi ideology by analyzing stamps, cartoons, posters, and propaganda films.

“Society, Medicine, and Ethics – ‘Euthanasia’ in Nazi Germany

The “euthanasia” affair: discussion of dilemmas associated with understanding the Nazi regime in the sense of its attitude toward “deviants.” On what basis did the regime define them, and why? How does a totalitarian regime perceive the individual and society relative to perceptions in a democratic society? Moral questions of current relevance are examined.

“The Image of the Murderers”

A workshop that examines the training that produced SS men and investigates the processes that “enable” ordinary people to become mass murderers. Topics of discussion include defense mechanisms, personal responsibility, compliance with authority, and “a blatantly illegal order.”

The visit to Poland as representative of dilemmas in teaching the Holocaust

People qua People – the Righteous among the Nations during the Holocaust

The workshop examines cases in which non-Jews risked their lives to save Jews and probes the moral responsibility of bystanders, back then and in today’s universalistic context.

What is the Holocaust?

The introductory workshop on this topic examines metaphors and personal attitudes toward the Holocaust and discusses matters of personal identity and of remembering and interpreting the Holocaust as a unique historical or universalistic event.

Art workshops

The Shaping of Memory

Creating collages as a way of expressing the meaning of remembering the Holocaust.

From There to Here (academic and art workshop)

Working through the personal experience of the visit to Poland by artistic design of photos from the trip. The workshop reveals the participants’ affective dimension and the group experience.


How the Holocaust Is Remembered in Israeli Cinema

A lecture that traces the way the image of the Holocaust survivor has been shaped in Israeli cinema from the 1950s to the present day.

From Revoking Rights to Revoking Life (lecture and film)

The Final Solution – stages in implementation of the Nazi policy toward the Jews, diverse approaches in research.

The Educational Teachings of Janusz Korczak

The lecture focuses on the persona of Janusz Korczak as a revolutionary educator.

Between Two Paths – on the Concept of Heroism during the Holocaust

Discussion of two typical patterns of Jewish response in the Holocaust; the meaning of the concepts “resistance and heroism” and “like lambs to the slaughter” through contemporaneous lenses.

People qua People – the Righteous among the Nations during the Holocaust

The workshop examines cases in which non-Jews risked their lives to save Jews and probes the moral responsibility of bystanders, back then and in today’s universalistic context.

The Visit to Poland as Representative of Dilemmas in Teaching the Holocaust

Various aspects of educational ways of teaching the Holocaust within a range of continuities, such as “Should Holocaust education emphasize the particularistic side, or should it stress the universalistic one?” Possibilities of educational alternatives are also discussed.

Multimedia program

Racism in Israeli Society

The program includes an interactive activity on stereotypes in Israeli society and continues with an interactive activity on racism and individual rights in Israeli society. Participants examine their emotional and cognitive stances on this topic.

Exhibitions at the museum

“Six Million Accusers – the State of Israel v. Adolf Eichmann”

The central exhibition at the museum is devoted to the Eichmann trial. It deals with the Holocaust as reflected in testimonies and evidence presented at the trial. It focuses on a multiple-screen presentation and an interactive multimedia system based on 150 videotaped testimonies and thousands of photos and documents.

“Three Lines in History” – Jewish Youth Movements in Europe 1928 – 1948.

The definitive question at the exhibition is: How did the youth movements’ comportment before the war help them to become a vital and leading force during the war? The exhibition opens with a video presentation based on primary sources, a musical and choreographic arrangement by the Shek Tek group, and personal testimonies and contemporaneous exhibits. It concludes with the organizing of the Bricha and Ha’apala movements, which went into action the day after the liberation.

“Addressee Has Left – Destination Unknown”

The exhibition, based on a collection of thousands of Holocaust-era letters kept in the Massuah Archive, focuses on the human and personal aspect of those trapped in the inferno.


Youth Aliyah – the Formation of Israeli Identity” (20 min.)

An educational project comprising a multi-screen presentation and an interactive multimedia system. Youth Aliyah considered itself an enterprise of rescue and education. Its goal was to help its students, who reached Eretz Israel from various countries, to form their Israeli identity and receive an education allowing them to contribute to Israeli society.

The interactive multimedia system, “Being Israeli,” allows participants to discuss what defines Israelis as Israelis today; test these definitions against components of the Israeli identity of Youth Aliyah alumni in previous decades; discuss the meaning of the multifacetedness of Israeli society today; and examine the need for openness and tolerance in our treatment of those who are other and different.


An encounter with a witness who tells his or her personal story. Duration of encounter: approximately 90 minutes.

For details: 
Dr. Mali >Eisenberg
Tel. 09-7497220

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