Annual Report

Click here to read The Olga Lengyel Institute 2017 Review of Programs

Overview of TOLI programs in the United States,  2017

In 2017, TOLI continued its record of providing outstanding professional development and support to teachers across the United States.

Summer Seminars for Teachers

TOLI seminars reached more than 200 educators across the U.S.:

  • Our capstone 12-day seminar in New York City brought together 25 teachers from around the United States as well as future leaders of our programs in Greece and Poland for an intensive inquiry into Holocaust and social justice education.
  • A record number of 11 5-day satellite seminars took place, with new satellites in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin, and continuing programs in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio.


  • In 2017 TOLI continued its longstanding mini-grant program in the United States for a total of more than $12K in support. These projects, which are ongoing across the 2017-2018 school year, include a wide range of activities, from co-sponsoring conferences organized by members of our program, to classroom and school-wide initiatives that will build student knowledge, to theater performances and Holocaust-themed art installations.

Leadership Conference in Detroit

  • In October, TOLI hosted its first-ever Leadership Conference, with 85 NYC summer seminar alumni attending a 3-day program that included a day at the Holocaust Memorial Center-Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills and an intensive workshop for satellite seminar leaders.

Keynote Address at the National Writing Project (NWP) Annual Meeting

  • TOLI was honored for its service to the cause of social justice education with an invitation to present the keynote address at the plenary of the NWP Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. Sondra Perl, Jennifer Lemberg, Michelle Sadrena Clark, Brenda Johnston, and Tracei Willis offered insight into our programs and the ways that Holocaust education can connect to local issues of social justice.

Future Plans: Shared U.S.-Austria International Inquiry Program

  • Plans are underway for a seminar in Austria that will bring together 10 teachers from TOLI’s network in the United States with 19 teachers in Austria to consider Holocaust education from an international perspective. The seminar will take place in March of 2018.


TOLI Expands European Programs 2017/2018

TOLI has expanded its European programs to become an important resource for Holocaust education in the EU nations.  We have found that teachers receive little educational training in this area and are eager for professional development in response to concerns about extremism and intolerance. Since 2012 TOLI has held 12 seminars in Europe training nearly 400 teachers.

All the seminars are tailored to the history and context of the host country. Each program has a local partner, an education or human rights organization, and sometimes government agency. Working with local Jewish communities, we include visits to nearby synagogue and opportunity to learn about Jewish life in that country.

In 2017, TOLI organized teacher training seminars in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, bringing over 200 European teachers into its network. In 2018, in addition to these countries, TOLI has planned programs in Poland, Hungary, Portugal, and Austria.

TOLI board members have met with EU leaders in Brussels, which have expressed interest to co-sponsor program. Growing anti-Semitism in Europe, along with the need to address human rights issues have raised demand for TOLI programs in Eastern as well as Western Europe.



From March 15-21, 2018, TOLI will hold its second seminar in Austria, bringing together 19 educators from Austria with 10 teachers from the US.  The seminar will take place at the innovative campus of Bundesrealgymnasium in der Au, Innsbruck, Austria.

Supported by funding from TOLI as well as the Austrian Ministry of Education, the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, and the Austrian American Partnership Fund the seminar will use writing and inquiry about the Holocaust as participants develop curriculum that addresses present-day issues of social injustice.


Together with local partners, the Ministry of Education and the Jewish Museum of Greece, TOLI held its first seminar in Athens in July 2017, for 35 secondary and university teachers in Greece.  Also participating in the program was the US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt and the Secretary General of Religious Affairs in Greece, Mr. George Kalantzis.

In November of 2018, there will be another TOLI seminar for teachers in Athens. There are also plans for a program at Aristotle University in Salonika, hosting teachers from several Balkan countries, in cooperation with the EU and local partners.


Since 2016, TOLI has organized training programs each summer at the American University of Bulgaria.  The seminar brings together experts from US, Israel and Bulgaria, giving attention to the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews during the Holocaust, while also addressing the deportation of Jews deported from Bulgarian-administered territories during the War.

The program will continue in 2018 at AUBG.


Over 200 teachers have been trained by TOLI in Romania since 2012 together with its partner, The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania.  There will be another seminar in Romania during the summer of 2018.


In July 2018, TOLI will organize its first seminar for teachers in Warsaw. The program will be in cooperation with POLIN – The Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The seminar will be conducted at the museum, with a day trip to Majdanek, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland.


The first TOLI seminar to take place in Portugal will be held in Lisbon, in October, 2018.    The program will be in cooperation with the Memshoa, the Portuguese Association for Holocaust Remembrance. The program will focus on Holocaust rescue, noting the role of Portugal in WWII enabling Jews to find safe passage to freedom.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)