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Facing History for a Better World

Razvan Bigiu, Ploiesti


This project was developed by Razvan Bigiu in Ploiesti, with the aim to increase students’ level of knowledge about the Jewish community in Romania, about their contribution to the political, social, economic and cultural development of the country, especially after the Independence of 1877. A priority of the project was the study of the Holocaust in Romania, bringing this subject to light, for a better understanding of the historical events, as well as of current realities, in the hope that the youngsters will build a better future.


A number of 30 students who showed interest in the topic of the Holocaust, human rights and history, in general, were included in the project. The criteria for selecting the students in the target group consisted of participation in different contests with historical topics, such as the Memory of the Holocaust, or of sustaining the semester main paper on the subject.


The first activity of the project consisted of watching and discussing a documentary film made by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, in which students could watch testimonies of Holocaust survivors in Romania, such as Liviu Beris, Iancu Țucărman, Andrei Călărașu, Leonard Zeicescu, Leizer Finkelstein. This activity helped students put historical facts into perspective and understand the emotional aspect of the tragedy that occurred in Romania not too long ago.


This activity was followed by a travel to Bucharest to visit the Choral Temple. This visit gave students the opportunity to learn about Judaism, the history of the temple, and the main aspects of Jewish culture.The meeting was very interactive. The students had the opportunity to ask questions and each of them were assigned a specific task in order to produce a tangible final result of the activity, a photographic-informative album on The Choral Temple. Apart from making this album, the students also given a short history of the Choral Temple. They were fascinated by the rich history of this building and impressed by the list of people who had been to this place of worship, such as Golda Meir or Shimon Peres. We exhibited copies of the album in different areas of our high school. We also presented the project activities in meetings with the other history teachers in the town and in the county to encourage them to undertake similar activities. Students also decided to make an online version of the photographic album.


Concerning the project continuation in the future, we want to sign a collaboration protocol with the representatives of the Jewish Community in Ploiesti to increase and diversify common activities for human rights education, for promoting tolerance and respect towards cultural differences between the nationalities present in Romania.


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)