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Remembering the Holocaust – a Way to Tolerance

Tatyana Docheva, Ivanka Aleksieva, and Elka Dimitrova, Kubrat

 

Fifty-four teachers were informed about the project objectives and activities on a special meeting, while the community was informed via the local media. The very first project activity was to build a team of participants: a group of students aged 12-13 and a group aged 16-17 together with several teachers from our school. During their project work students used materials gathered from previous Council of Europe projects, The Olga Lengyel Institute, the Ministry of Education as well as Yad Vashem projects.

The 6th graders studied about WWII, the history of the Jews, the Holocaust, as well as the events related to the rescue of the Jews in Bulgaria. Students learned more about the Jewish ghettos and what it meant to be living there. For the commemoration of January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the students drew the Tree of Life on one of the school walls and they put information of non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue their Jews neighbors, the Righteous among the Nations, on every branch. We also created an information corner about the countries who contributed to the rescuing of Jews.

 

The younger students took a virtual tour of a WWII Jewish Ghetto using Yad Vashem Children in the Ghetto Interactive Website for Children http//ghetto.galim.org.il/end/. After the tour they discussed the life of Jewish children in the Ghetto, their dreams and imaginations, and the toys and games they used against the ugly reality. Then, they participated in a drawing contest entitled ‘The children of the Ghetto – survival by dreaming’. The older students, aged 16-17, participated in a literary contest organized by The Center for Jewish-Bulgarian cooperation “Aleph” on the theme of Shimon Peres and his contribution to the dimensions of universal humanism as well as in an essay contest about Bar Zohar’s book Beyond Hitler’s Grasp.

 

Several 11th graders, together with their history teacher, also participated in a conference entitled “Day of Tolerance and Support Among Ethnic Groups.” There they met other peers as well as Israeli citizens, relatives to the people who survived the Nazi Concentration Camps.

 

We also went to Varna to meet members of the Shalom organization. The stories they told intrigued the students deeply and they asked questions, took photos, and planned a future visit. Students, teachers and parents welcomed Mitko Petev, who does historical research about the Jewish community in Varna Region. The school hosted an exhibition of the National History Museum entitled “Fragile Tolerance” telling the story of the Jews during the Holocaust.

The project taught students of Hristo Botev Secondary School tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity. Students expressed their willingness to continue their fight against intolerance and violence in the future.


 

Contact

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

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