Workshops to teach Shoah

A PROJECT aimed at teaching the Holocaust to primary-aged and secondary school children, under the new National Curriculum, will open at the City of Leeds School with three workshops.

Included in the workshops, a free professional development event sponsored by Leeds Local Authority, will be one devoted to those involved in church life, including clergy and youth group leaders.

Many teachers feel they lack the relevant training to teach the subject effectively.

The event, on Wednesday, November 12 (9.15am-4.30pm), will offer practical strategies to help teach Kindertransport and the Holocaust to children and the church, offering a clear focus on learning outside of the classroom.

Workshops will explore a range of different teaching methods and also provide pre and post-visit resources for preparing children for a visit to The Journey exhibition at National Holocaust Centre.

And an introduction to IWitness, an online platform that houses more than 1,200 survivor testimonies, will provide a range of strategies for integrating testimony into curriculum subjects to engage children cognitively and emotionally.

Tim Friedman, of the Council of Christians and Jews, is responsible for taking many school parties to visit the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Laxton.

Although never coming into contact with significant antisemitism he is fascinated by the subject because "it seems to be, on the one hand, totally evil and on the other hand philosophical nonsense".

Until a few years ago, Tim, a past president of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, spoke to non-Jewish audiences about the Holocaust.

In his involvement with the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association, he discovered that Leeds schools didn't seem to be involving themselves in Holocaust Memorial Day as much as schools in other areas.

So he contacted the David Young Academy and suggested the school visit Laxton under the auspices of the Council of Christians and Jews.

"The school was amenable to the idea and I subsequently arranged fundraising through local non-Jewish civic sources," he said.

"For the last five years, I've taken parties from the school which have been hugely productive."

Many spin-offs followed and other schools showed interest in going.

Last year Tim took both the school and The City of Leeds School Academy, "which is poignant because when the Jews first came to Leeds this was the school that many attended," he added.

HSFA chairman Lilian Black welcomed the initiative.

"Never has the need been greater for young people and those who shape our education provision to understand the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust and just how relevant these are for today," she said.

"We know from our work that teaching the Holocaust is difficult and we commend all those involved for creating this opportunity."

To book a place, contact Sam Wortley on 01623-836627 or email sam.wortley@holocaustcentre.net

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