Some 40 educators in Poland took part in a unique eight-week program, Teaching about the Holocaust and Human Rights through Art, a TOLI seminar conducted in partnership with POLIN, Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
During the online program from Sept.7— Oct.30, prominent lecturers in the visual arts – graphics, painting and photography – gave multi-media presentations on aspects of the Holocaust and art: documentation and depiction of Jewish life pre-Holocaust and imagery of the Shoah; the history of the Lodz Ghetto through photographs; how post-War comic books and graphics were influenced by the horror of the Holocaust; and the use of art to teach high school students about the Holocaust.
Emphasis was placed on Polish artists, such as Isaac Celnikier, who was trapped in the Bialystok ghetto and subsequently sent to concentration camps. Celnikier survived and his paintings and etchings of the Bialystok ghetto have become an important resource for educators.
The program, with expert input from Yad Vashem, was organized by Katarzyna (Kasia) Laziuk, TOLI Program Coordinator in Poland. (see article below) This was TOLI’s third annual seminar for Polish teachers and the first online program, because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The TOLI Poland Seminar is made possible by a gift from Sara Mostysser and her family.



Sessions descriptions

7.09. 2020

The opening session

Welcome and Introduction

Guest speeches

Polish Desk in Yad Vashem

The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights mission. 

The detailed course program


The Holocaust and human rights by Katarzyna Kotula; offline webinar

The speech of Mr. Marian Turski during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau was addressed mainly to young people, who should bear the responsibility for actions taken to prevent the situation in which another Auschwitz would “fall from heaven”. What lesson of the Holocaust can be learned by a younger generation? Are past experiences relevant to the contemporary world of young people and the inequalities they face? As educators and teachers, we should not only give them space for reflection and a dose of historical knowledge, but also encourage them to take specific actions so that the lessons from the Holocaust are actually reflected in reality. During the classes, we will try not only to focus on the meaning of the Holocaust in the contemporary world. Together, we will consider how to combine historical education with human rights education and what psychosocial mechanisms can lead to the rejection of the culture of human rights.

Katarzyna Kotula-Domagała is a graduate of the Pedagogical University in Krakow. Although she is a history teacher, she turned the classroom into a museum space, working in 2015-2020 as an Education Assistant at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow and the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim. In her daily work, she tries to combine historical education with anti-discrimination education and education for human rights. Currently, she cooperates with the Autonomia Foundation, which deals with counteracting gender-based violence and empowerment education of girls and young women.

Teaching with testimonies by Monika Koszyńska, offline webinar

During the webinar, Monika Koszyńska presents the value of using the accounts of witnesses, showing the educational power of the survivors’ testimonies and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. The facilitator will familiarize the participants with the methodology and practice of working with testimonies and will answer the question of where to find testimonies and how to work with them. She will also show how to create inspiring, critical-thinking educational materials with the use of the witnesses’ memoirs.  Monika will share her expertise on the world’s largest Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation. Koszyńska also provides advice on how to work with the IWitness online platform – an interactive tool that enables learners to look at the history of the 20th century through the prism of an individual’s experience.

Monika Koszyńska is a teacher of Social Studies. She co-founded Lauder-Morash Jewish Primary School in Warsaw, where she worked for eight years. Then she ran educational projects on History and Civic Studies. She has been working as a teacher trainer for 20 years. She worked for the Institute of National Remembrance. an author of numerous publications on contemporary history, history and traditions of Jews, oral history, and antidiscrimination issues. Since 2013, she has been in charge of teacher training at the Polin Museum 


Holocaust and literature by Justyna Radomińska, offline webinar

During the webinar, Justyna Radomińska will refer to the literary works of Zuzanna Ginczanka to inspire participants to create a portrait of female feelings, emotions, desires, and also fears.  

Those who – just like us – enjoyed life, and ultimately found themselves in a borderline situation, stand up for man and his inalienable rights with their works. During the webinar, the work of Ida Fink will also be recalled in this context, enriched with fragments of an unusual drama that eludes the framework of the classically understood theatricality, entitled “Festival of Remembrance” directed by Andrzej Pakuła.

The lecturer will also provoke a discussion on what can and cannot be done “in front of people’s eyes”, recalling one of Zofia Nałkowska’s literary medallions in the background. The purpose of working with literary texts is to save a human being from being a victim of the Holocaust.

Justyna Radomińska, a teacher of Polish, Literary critique  


Holocaust and graphics; documentary; webinar by Monika Marciniak 

The history of the Holocaust most often is known from the books and accounts of the survivors.  In the case of the Białystok ghetto, we have one more extraordinary source: a series of graphics by Isaac Celnikier. The artist stayed in the Białystok ghetto from the very beginning of its creation (1941). Together with a group of painters, he was a part of the secret copyists’ workshop. The artists made copies of the paintings there, which were sent to Germany. Only a small group of people knew about the studio. From the group of artists, only Celnikier survived the destruction of the ghetto. In the Holocaust and graphics module, participants will learn about this extraordinary studio. They will learn about Jewish artists, and they will see how Celnikier  hid the emotions experienced  in the ghetto in his graphics. An introduction to the movie will be given by Jolanta Szczygieł – Rogowska and Joanna Tomalska, researchers of the history of Białystok Jews, who met Izaak Celnikier and over the years have been discovering new threads of this extraordinary story. The Holocaust and graphics module will be accompanied by a webinar on the use of historical walks as an educational tool. The host, Monika Marciniak, will show examples of the implementation of animation activities in urban space.

Monika Marciniak is a social activist, audio descriptive specialist, and certified Design Thinking moderator. Since 2010, she has been running authorial projects in the field of education, local history, and multiculturalism. She creates space and tools for the artistic activity of the local community. Marciniak has created over 1000 audio descriptions to art works and films, including subtitles for people with hearing disabilities. She includes Design thinking her cultural and educational projects. 


Holocaust and comics by Michał Romanowski, online webinar

Private and didactic stories as a warning – comic narratives about the Holocaust; 

The aim of the workshop is to familiarize participants with the ways the Holocaust became a topic discussed by comic book and graphic novelists over the post-war decades, influencing the evolution of the medium itself. A closer look at the most important texts, plots, and implemented strategies will be taken. A context of comic books creation and significance for the development of American and European comics will be discussed. 

Michał Romanowski is a teacher, drama trainer, and graduate of the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw.  He is an activist for youth organizations and a trainer of participatory practices aimed at increasing the participation of youth in social life. He works with non-governmental organizations to  plan and implement civic initiatives in the Żuławy region. While working with young people and adults, he focuses on comics as a tool of historical and cultural education.


Holocaust and photography; Orit Margaliot, online lecture 

Łódz Ghetto through the camera lends and the arts.  Documentation is a main source of history narration that can be found in different forms. This presentation will introduce the history of the Łódz Ghetto through photographs and art. The lecturer will discuss the benefits, challenges, and methodological aspects of using photographs. For example different perspectives of German and Jewish documentations will be discussed,  

Orit Margaliot; studied History of Arts and Holocaust History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has worked at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem since 2000, and she has been responsible for the desks of several countries in the European Department and Australia. For 13 years, she was the Head of the Polish desk in the European Department. Orit was in charge of the educational development of Block 27 at Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. Orit Margaliot is currently the head of training and curricula development at the Study Seminars and part of the guiding course for Israeli Guides to Poland at Yad Vashem. Orit is a teacher of history, art, and literature. 

Photography kept them alive – the personalization of history with the use of photography, Jakub Niewiński offline webinar

During the webinar, participants will deal with visual and textual representations of  Roman Kent’s life and his family in the Łódź ghetto in the presence of his beloved dog Lala. The use of methods and tools developed on the basis of visual sociology and documentary ethnography in building a human rights narrative will be discussed.  Participants will try to recreate the topography of Bałuty. They will take a closer look at individual and collective memory. Moreover, they will discuss the use of the photographs and the space of personal experience, for autotelic and other purposes.

Jakub Niewiński is an educator on multiculturalism, human rights, and the Holocaust. He is a graduate of the coaching school “Take a course on Multiculturalism” (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights), the International School for Teaching about the Holocaust in Jerusalem (Yad Vashem), The Summer Institute for Teachers in New York (The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous), and the Holocaust Summer Institute in Seattle (Holocaust Center for Humanity. He currently works at the Karol Marcinkowski Primary School in Murowana Goślina, which included his first place of work – Hipolit Cegielski Junior High School – in its structures.  For six years, he led the author’s interdisciplinary class “Hipolit,” under which he carried out a peer mediation program. For several years he has been the Head of the Partnership Committee of the Goślina Region. He is also the leader of the Multicultural Circle, whose members are young people from Murowana Goślina and the surrounding area. Under his supervision, young people carry out civic initiatives for the benefit of the local community, promoting equal rights for women and men and respect and dignity for person, regardless of religion, origin, age, fitness, and psychosexual identity. He has implemented many international projects, including Polish-Israeli meetings of pupils and students, the Polish-Georgian-Armenian-Maltese “Academy of Openness,” and the Polish-Georgian “Academy of Freedom.” He collaborates with the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Forum for Dialogue, and the Center for Civic Education. He was a mentor in the e-coaching course of the School of Tolerance. He also worked on the program “Let’s talk about refugees”. This year, he received an award from the Polish-Australian POLCUL Foundation. Five years ago, he was awarded the Irena Sendler “For Repairing the World”.


Holocaust and painting by Marta Kapełuś, offline webinar

During the session devoted to painting, participants will learn the story of William Bernheim, an artist and Holocaust survivor and living in the United States. They will learn the history of his life through the prism of his work and will see a virtual exhibition of the artist’s works.

The painting module will be accompanied by a webinar by Marta Kapeluś from the Jewish Historical Institute, in which the lecturer talks about commemoration of the Holocaust in Polish art after 2000. She deals with the issue of using symbolism and the appropriateness of presenting the Holocaust in artistic activities. She analyzes the way in which the artists refer to the issue of memory, post-war trauma, anti-Semitism, and the burden left behind by the Holocaust in the contemporary world.

Marta Kapełuś is an art historian and graduate of the History of Art and Culture Studies at the University of Warsaw and Visual Culture Management at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She participated in the conference “Commemorative art in central and east central Europe” in Rostock, which is the first part of the international project “Art and Holocaust: Reflections for the common future”. Works at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.


The closing session 

Meeting with the webinar authors (question and answer session)

Commissioner for Human Rights address to the course participants  

Information about TOLI mini-grants

Evaluation questionnaire


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

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