Projects for School and University Students
Museum lessons for pupils held by “Tkuma” Institute and Museum “Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine” become more and more popular. Teachers of Dnipropetrovsk and the region introduce such lessons to their pupils.
On September 14 -20, 2014 in Oswiecim (Poland) the International Seminar for Students and Teachers “Memories about Auschwitz and the Holocaust”, organized by International Youth Meeting Center in Oswiecim and “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies. Participants from Ukraine, Poland and Germany during the week discussed the problems of the Holocaust memory in three countries. The extensive seminar program included tours of the death camps Auschwitz and Birkenau, workshops, lectures, roundtables and discussions. An important part of the program was the presentation of the national memory of the Holocaust from each group of participants.
From 26 to 31 of August, 2014 about 100 students from all over Ukraine and neighboring countries came together to spend five unforgettable days at summer camp that is annually organized by the Youth Organization “Hillel». The place of the meeting this year was Mankivka – picturesque village located in Uman district of Kyiv region. Atmosphere of true Ukrainian villages and beautiful landscapes set to active rest and intellectual development. Jewish history сlasses, meetings with interesting guests, work in creative workshops and fun evening activities were held during the camp.
The camp program was prepared and implemented by friendly madrich team under the guidance of Simferopil “Hillel” Director Diana Liebman. “Make it Jewish” – that’s how the slogan of this year’s program sounded and it accurately reflects the main purpose of the youth camp – strengthening of Jewish students’ identity and the revival of Jewish culture and customs.
Traditionally, “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies has joined the implementation of the camp curriculum. Dr. Oleksandra Leonova, Institute “Tkuma” Head of Research Department, held three lectures and conversations for camp participants.
The program was based on a “Limud” principle: several lectures and trainings were conducted simultaneously. The students themselves decided which class to attend. Lectures of Dr. Leonova were in great request among a large number of students. At her lectures, questions of the historical past closely intertwined with the problems of our time. During the lecture “Ordinary Fascism and the “Jewish question” attendants tried to understand the concepts of “fascism”, “Nazism” and “nationalism”. Participants drew a lot of analogies and saw parallels between 1930s and the present. Through association and analysis of historical events the lecturer helped students understand the historical terminology which now became the object of manipulation. Another lesson was devoted to Yiddish avant-garde art. Members immersed into the cultural history of their people. Madriches noted that students were so carried away with the proposed theme that continued its discussion outside the lecture hall.
Not everyone was lucky enough yet to visit, while in Dnipropetrovsk, “Menorah” Center and Museum “Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine”, so Dr. Oleksandra Leonova conducted a virtual tour of around the Museum halls. Participants were amazed by modernity of the exhibitions, multimedia equipment. Students expressed a wish to visit the Museum and to continue cooperation with “Tkuma” Institute.
On July 14 – August 8 summer school “Jewish History and Multiethnic Past: Discussions and Approaches to Study of Society, Culture and Heritage in Central and Eastern Europe” was held in the Centre for Urban History (Lviv). Eighteen young scholars were selected on a competitive basis to take part in the event, among them – Dr. Oleksandra Leonova, “Tkuma” Institute Research Associate. The school was aimed at drawing attention of the young researchers to multiethnic past of Ukraine. The school focused on the Jewish history and Ukrainian culture and Central-Eastern Europe in general; however it suggested more complex approach, representing different national, social and individual prospects. This particular approach was aimed at giving impulse to historians to implement interdisciplinary approaches and multidimensional aspects of the study of societies, which had multiethnic and multicultural constituent, to encourage introduction of new contexts in researches of the history of Ukraine.
The multiplicity of identifications and identities – either national, religious, social or governmental, that were changing in time and space, passing through the family, neighborhood, districts, institutions and cities, in general – was integrated in seminars and lectures. Part of the program dealt with mass and usually violent changes in XX c., which took place in Central-Eastern Europe and left us competitive legacies which require research, study, analysis, interpretation, both public discussion and perpetuation.
Four-week program is a great opportunity to deepen knowledge and familiarize oneself with the latest approaches and debates in the study and teaching of multicultural heritage societies. Thus the school coordinators try to encourage young historians and humanists in the realization of the new research projects on the complex multi-ethnic past of Ukraine and application of the new methods and interpretations. “It’s important not only to raise awareness for destroyed and resettled communities, which populated the territory of modern Ukraine and the wider Central-Eastern region until World War II, but also to form new cultural and historical narratives including wider public discussions”, – the coordinators say.
Every day, except weekends, the participants attended: two classes on Yiddish and two classes on the history courses proposed. The classes were held in the form of lectures, seminars, debates, demonstrations and discussions of the feature and documentary films. For each course the textbook was prepared and sent to the participants the month and a half before the event, to make them ready for the classes.
The program also included guest lectures, discussions, film screening and excursions in Lviv and historic towns of Galicia. Two one-day seminars were planned as well – discussions on the role of museums in context of rich multiethnic past of Ukraine and challenges and perspectives in teaching multiethnic history of Ukraine in schools.
The program of summer school was implemented by lecturers from USA, Canada and Europe. School participants took lecture courses by Prof. Yohanan Petrovsky Shtern (Northwestern University, Illinois, USA) “Jews in Western Europe, 1772 – 1991”, Prof. Serhy Yekelchyk (University of Victoria, Canada) “Multiculturalism in Ukraine’s Revolutionary Age (1917 – 1930)”, Prof. John-Paul Himka (University of Alberta, Canada), Prof. Tarik Cyril Amar (Columbia University, USA). During the month the school students also took a language course of Yiddish, which was held by the true expert Dr. Joanna Lisek (Wroclaw University, Poland).
The course program included discussion and analysis of historic films, meetings with research workers and numerous round-table discussions. The lecture on Polish-Jewish relations during World War II in general and the role of the “navy-blue” and Polish police in extermination of Jews in particular, by Polish historian Yan Grabovsky was particularly interesting.
The tour program of the Fifth summer school “Lviv city tour “to the ZUNR localities” was very informative, as well as tour to Drohobych and Boryslav.
Dr. Leonova points out that the summer school opens new horizons for self-development and moreover the school became a great platform for establishment of the new professional contacts.
By the end of the summer school the participants received certificates.