Education Report: March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022


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FSWC Education Report

Here's what the Education Department at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has been up to over the last two weeks.

Holocaust Survivors Continue to Impact Students Across Canada

With the alarming rise of incidents of antisemitism that we have been seeing in elementary and high schools, we are encouraged to see the teachers that are inviting Holocaust survivors into their classrooms to learn about the ultimate human cost of antisemitism, racism and all forms of hatred and intolerance when left unchecked.

Survivors like Leonard Vis are continuing to share their personal experiences in the Holocaust while also expressing the impact of the too-frequent appearances of the swastika and the Nazi salute in schools today.  

Their presentations are resonating with students in profound ways.

The following statements are were shared by Grade 6 students in Nova Scotia who witnessed Mr. Vis' testimony earlier this week:

It was interesting to hear that you took care of a house, made food, cleaned, and did lots of chores. You were doing that when you were around my age and I can barely even get out of bed! You were pretty brave through all of that stuff. If I were there I would have hidden and prayed I would live.

I really appreciated that presentation with you and thought about the fact that you were offering to talk about the hardest part of your life to us. You seemed to be pretty calm about talking about that when it probably brought back a lot of horrible memories.

Thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I really hope you and your family's life was better after the war. I think you are very brave then and now.

Now, more than ever, we need to support the inclusion of survivor testimonies in classrooms to engage students in a personal understanding of our responsibilities in the face of hatred and intolerance.  

Teacher Training with Moroccan Teachers Continues

FSWC's partnership program with the Mimouna Association continued last week with a group of Moroccan teachers attending a second session on the history of the Holocaust and how to integrate lessons into their classrooms. The program was filled with interesting questions and engaging conversations from the participants.  

Following our conversation about Nazi symbols and the power of propaganda, one participant reflected insightfully: “Today, images and symbols from the Nazi period are frequently misused, such as by attacking Jews as individuals or institutions and criticizing the government of Israel by equating it with Nazi Germany or rejecting its legitimacy by saying that the Holocaust is just a lie to justify the current Jewish-Israeli existence.” The teachers left the session with a series of resources that are ready for use in their classrooms.

Our next session with this group of teachers in Morocco will take place next month.

SAVE THE DATE: May 4th, 2022 - 1 p.m. EDT
**Registration details coming soon!**

Tour for Humanity: Notes from the Road

With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, FSWC has been busy arranging school visits for the spring semester. Teachers are very excited to have the bus come to their schools once again, so we are anticipating an even busier April and May!


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