On the 10th-13th of July an international workshop for teachers “Local History, Learning Strategies and Regional connections” was held in Vilnius at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. The seminar was attended by 20 teachers from Latvia and 22 teachers from Lithuania.
The international seminar was organized in Vilnius for Lithuanian and Latvian teachers to discuss the peculiarities of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and the importance of local history in analyzing global historical events.
The seminar was opened and addressed by the following organizers: Mr. Markas Zingeris (Director of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum); Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas (Executive Director of the International Commission); Bruno Boyer (Representative of Memorial de la Shoah in France). The welcome greetings were addressed to the teachers by the Ambassador for special missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Mr. Dainius Junevičius, Mr. Amir Maimon the Ambassador of the State of Israel, Mr. Jean-Marie Sani the Director of the French Institute in Lithuania, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Mr. Einars Semanis, who emphasized in his speech to the teachers: “You talk not only with our younger generation , but with members of the whole society, so your word is solid”.
A member of the International Commission, a historian Christoph Dieckmann presented a lecture on collaboration, a French lecturer Ophir Levy introduced materials on the analysis of photos and documentaries. Yad Vashem’s spokeswoman, Noah Sigal, spoke on the work with Holocaust witnesses. The teachers listened to the story of Fania Brancovsky, who survived the Holocaust in Lithuania.
Ronaldas Račinskas, head of the International Commission, presented to teachers the educational activities of the institution on the Holocaust and the initiatives of Tolerance Education Centers for commemoration of the Holocaust victims. Pupils from one of the Tolerance Education Centers in Lithuania from Vladas Mironas Gymnasium at Daugai in the region of Alytus joined the seminar and presented their performance “It did happen at one time, it did…” to the teachers from Lithuania and Latvia. The performance staged after the creation of a litvak Abraham Karpinovich. The participants of the seminar visited the former ghetto site in Vilnius, a mass murder site of Jews in Paneriai/Ponari.
The seminar was organized by the International Commission, the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, the Memorial de la Shoah in France, Yad Vashem – the International School of Holocaust Studies in Israel and the Ministry of Education of Latvia. The organizers of the seminar hope that teachers from Lithuania and Latvia will cooperate in the future, will implement joint projects of historical remembrance.