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History as a Part of the Future

Hristina Hristova and Gabriela Georgieva, Lovech


This project was developed by Hristina Hristova and Gabriela Georgieva in Lovech and involved two groups of students. One of the groups consisted of 12 students from 9th to 11th grade, two teachers and one school psychologist. They did research and organized activities for the other students. The second group consisted of 160 students from 8th to 11th grade, teachers and parents. They were informed regularly about the project and involved in its activities.


In the first activity students researched the history of Jews in the village of Gorsko Slivovo, Lovech district. 12 students met people who lived through the events of WWII leading to the attempted deportation of the Jews. The mayor of the village, Mr. Ivan Karaivanov, assisted us and organized a meeting with Mrs. Ganka Velkova and Mrs. Elena Petrova who shared with us their memories about these events. This activity was followed by a visit to the State Archive in Lovech with the goal to find out more information about the Jewish life in the district of Lovech, before and after the war. Students worked with assistance from the employees of the State Archive. There, we found a Jewish trace that is connected to our school. With the materials and photos we found we made a presentation, a portfolio and an information board to announce the research findings in front of the students, teachers and parents from our school.


The third activity consisted of showing the movie “Beyond Hitler’s grasp” in history classes with students from 10th grade and was followed by a visit to the synagogue and the museum of the synagogue in Sofia, where students learned a lot about the chronology of the Holocaust and  Jewish traditions and culture. The most interesting part was the meeting with the Rabb, who shared interesting facts about Judaism and about the synagogue and its architecture.


Finally the students presented the results of our project publicly in front of other students, parents and citizens of Lovech. Unfortunately, the students from our school could not meet professor Bar-Zohar, but they read his book about the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews during the WWII. They also participated in an essay competition and in the conference “Day of tolerance” in the town of Kardzali.


We know that teaching about the Holocaust is a great way to teach about today’s problems of the society: prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, etc. We will continue to organize activities popularizing the information we collected in the portfolio and presentation. The teachers from our school will continue to encourage and motivate students to find more information about Jewish history and culture.


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)