When one considers how swiftly changes in the equilibrium in Ukraine have raised the civic stress and military stand-by levels in our EU community; what we see today with attacks in Paris November 2015, the Charlie Hebdo, Jewish supermarket, Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, are recent fragile examples of how quickly social responsibility can be undermined.
It is clear that unless a culture of appreciation of the horrors of war can be instilled in the youth of Europe, the progress of the last 70 years would be undone; as those who have direct contact with war survivors grow old and pass on.
The more so when the post Berlin Wall generation have been brought up with cultural prominence of video games in which the winner is the most destructive.
Collective memories of the past shape the future. We have a duty to meaningfully transmit to younger generations the lessons of the Holocaust and emphasise the values that are needed for responsible citizenship.
Jewish heritage sites provide an opportunity for the mobilisation of young people to care for our common heritage, offer a valuable insight into Jewish culture and are a poignant reminder of the Jewish communities that inhabited thousands of European towns and villages before the Shoah.
Learn and Do
The Lo Tishkach Foundation, with the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, The Vaad of Ukraine and other occasional donors including Rothschild Europe Foundation (Hanadiv) instituted a program with these aims
- Raise awareness of and interest in Jewish history, culture and heritage, including the importance and often precarious state of remaining Jewish material heritage;
- Facilitate discussion of and reflection on the Holocaust / tolerance /discrimination in the world today;
- Engage young people in socially meaningful projects and encourage volunteerism;
- Provide a formative experience to both Jewish and non-Jewish youth leaders;
- Collect comprehensive, accurate information on Jewish burial grounds in Europe.
Since the initial proof of concept visit by Dutch, German and English university students to Dukla, several thousand young Europeans have participated in seminars on Jewish history and culture, learnt of the religious, cultural and historical significance of Jewish burial grounds, and visited hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
During these survey visits participants, who are drawn from local Jewish and non-Jewish youth and student groups, fill in detailed survey forms and take comprehensive photographs of each site. They also carry out background research on the area’s Jewish life, history and culture, including learning about the fate of local Jewish communities during the Holocaust and discussions of the lessons for modern society. Many taking place during summer camps alongside seminars on local Jewish history and identity.
• Attitude surveys of participants are conducted at start and end of program. A key qualitative differentiator is measuring the impact of the program in changing attitudes especially among those that who describe themselves as indifferent or disinterested
• A standard educational toolkit has been built with the help of national community education authority to facilitate rollout in other countries.
• Best practice has been collected and refined at past teacher training seminars for easier dissemination to new areas
• Continuity of partnerships with those responsible for national education strategies
• Each new project requires an educational psychologist/strategist, a local historian as well as project leadership
• Quantitative Milestones: regions covered, number of cemeteries surveyed, photos and reports uploaded, training events, pupils reached
For further details of the 2015 project click here
For further details of the 2010-11 project click here.
For further details of each 2009-10 project click here.
For further details of each 2008-9 project click here.