Seminar “Teaching/Learning about the Holocaust” in Lazarevac and Šabac
“The premier demand upon all education is that Auschwitz not happen again” - Adorno
The Centre for Public History organised a three-day seminar “Teaching/Learning about the Holocaust” for secondary and primary school teachers and expert associates. Although held during the coronavirus epidemic and tightened protection measures, the seminar was very successfully held twice, in Lazarevac from 25 to 27 August 2020 in the “Knez Lazar” primary school, and in Šabac from 11 to 13 September 2020 at the Museum of the Šabac Jews.
The main goal of the seminar was the theoretical and practical training of teachers to address the most serious war crimes and social tragedies in modern history. Lectures and workshops were aimed at developing participants' awareness that anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other forms of hatred can lead to new crimes, as well as that developing a value system and a culture of remembering victims through the education system helps create a more just society and prevent crimes.
The seminar in Šabac was opened by Nela Tonković, director of the National Museum of Šabac, and Daniel Mosheni Akhavan, political advisor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade. Through presentations and workshops, the lecturers offered new frameworks for working with secondary and primary school students in the curriculum for social sciences and general education subjects. Dr Milan Koljanin highlighted the historical approach to the Holocaust for the participants. Nada Banjanin Đuričić, professor of sociology, held workshops “Meet the Jews”, “Nazi ideology-hatred, propaganda and education”, “Pedagogical philosophy of Yad Vashem - representation of the Holocaust in education”, “Trains of life and death” and “Use of visual materials in teaching about the Holocaust” and gave practical suggestions for working with students in classes of various subjects. Dr. Milovan Pisarri spoke about the genocide against the Roma and the Topovske Šupe (Artillery Sheds) camp in Belgrade, as a place of suffering and remembrance. Vladimir Arsenić, literary critic and editor at “Partizanska knjiga”, addressed the topic of the Holocaust in literature, with an analysis of the poetry of Dan Pagis. Dr. Predrag Krstić provided a theoretical and philosophical framework for the study of the Holocaust and pointed out the dangers, dilemmas and controversial issues in the study and perception of the Holocaust, which was a kind of warning to teachers that learning about crime is never simple and unambiguous; he problematized the perception and interpretation of the Holocaust through the presentations “Auschwitz and Education”, “Holocaust, Philosophy, History”. Ružica Marjanović, professor of Serbian language and literature, offered a new reading of the Diary of Anne Frank and Erich Koš’s “The Sparrows of Van Pe”. Stevan Marinković, the author of documentaries about the suffering of the Jews of Šabac, offered an inspiring lecture on the Kladovo-Šabac transport. Nikola Mitić, Tatjana Čubrilo, Svetlana Novičić and Jelena Jevrić, spoke about learning about the Holocaust based on their own experience in the classroom and working with students in places of suffering and memory.
Thirty seminar participants showed great interest in the topic of the Holocaust. In discussion with Zagorka Aksentijević, who led the evaluation and closing of the seminar, they pointed out the usefulness of the offered methodology in terms of connecting the past and the present. The participants received the publication “What you do matters – teaching/learning about the Holocaust according to the recommendations of Yad Vashem” and additional teaching materials that accompany the workshops: postcards “Meet the Jews” and cards “Nazi Ideology” by Nada Banjanin Đuričić. The three-day seminar for professional development of teachers “Teaching/Learning about the Holocaust” has been accredited by the Institute for the Advancement of Education and award 24 CE points. Thanks to the support of the German Embassy, the seminar was free for all participants.