Here's what the Education Department at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has been up to over the last month.
Excellence in Holocaust Education award recipients Nick Kovacs (Crescent School), Shari Schwartz-Maltz (Toronto District School Board), John MacPhail (Halton Catholic District School Board), and Dom Scuglia (York Catholic District School Board) with FSWC President & CEO Michael Levitt
Simon Wiesenthal was a staunch advocate for justice both as a means of holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, as well as providing a deterrent for future genocides. In addition to the pursuit of justice as a way to proactively avert genocide, Wiesenthal also believed in the power of education. If we were ever to move forward in a quest for Never Again, we needed to educate about past atrocities. Wiesenthal stated, "The history of man is the history of crimes, and history can repeat. So information is a defence. Through this we can build, we must build, a defence against repetition."
Last Thursday, during our Holocaust Education Conference, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) was thrilled to recognize four educators who have demonstrated excellence in their building of "a defence against repetition" through outstanding Holocaust education programs and curriculum.
From impactful Holocaust education events featuring world-renowned speakers to Holocaust survivor-focused programs in classrooms, and immersive learning experiences at sites of the Holocaust, our four award recipients have focused on best practices in Holocaust education to ensure that the memory of the past and the legacy of survivors and their experiences are remembered for generations to come.
FSWC's Excellence in Holocaust Education award recipients are:
Nick Kovacs - Deputy Head of School, Crescent School
John MacPhail - Grade 7 teacher, Halton Catholic District School Board
Shari Schwartz-Maltz - Media Relations & Issues Manager, Chair of Jewish Heritage Committee, Toronto District School Board
Dom Scuglia - Director of Education, York Catholic District School Board
This is how Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center measures impact: one school, one class and one teacher at a time!
FSWC was pleased to welcome an in-person audience on January 26-27 for the annual Holocaust Education Conference in recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Conference Chair Angela Terpstra, Bishop Strachan Head of School, opened the conference with a compelling message to take action, stating: "Today, in our time, words are ominously threatening again. I think of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: 'When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?' When will that be? For those of us doing this work, it is now. Our consciences must be tender enough to do the work to take action against antisemitism, to be constantly reminding ourselves and re-learning the horrors of the Shoah."
The first day of the conference featured keynote speaker Dr. Edward Westermann, author of Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany, followed by Jenna Quint and Holocaust survivor Gershon Willinger in conversation with Tour for Humanity Director Daniella Lurion, who discussed intergenerational trauma.
The second day of the conference featured a lineup of workshops curated specifically for classroom teachers. Dominique Trudeau, Montreal Holocaust Museum's Head of Education, led participants in a workshop that incorporated artifacts into classroom Holocaust lessons. Melissa Mikel, FSWC's Director of Education, led the second session on how to teach the Holocaust through stories, spotlighting relevant picture books and young adult novels.
In addition to more than 1,800 Ontario elementary and secondary school students engaging in meaningful learning on the Tour for Humanity mobile education centre this month, we also welcomed Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Michael Ford for a Holocaust: Then & Now workshop.
FSWC Board Chair Fred Waks, York Region District School Board (YRDSB) Associate Director of Education - Leadership and Schools Tod Dungey and YRDSB Chair Ron Lynn were also in attendance.
During a media scrum outside the bus, the ministers and FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt underlined the importance of Holocaust education and the value of resources such as Tour for Humanity in helping educate students and inspire them to stand up against hate.
Tour for Humanity also had more media visits this month, with Global News reporter Caryn Lieberman visiting the bus and reporting on how FSWC is addressing antisemitism through Holocaust education.
Learn more about Tour for Humanity
Donate to support our educational programs