Educational activity at the 72nd Primary School of Athens “Andreas Kalvos”

With a view to placing the honorary plaque in memory of the students of the18th Primary School who were murdered in the death camps during World War II, the Jewish Museum of Greece, being urged by the management and the teachers of the72nd School and the excellent cooperation with them, conducted a series of training programmes. The educational programmes, which were realised in two phases, firstly aimed at the updating and then the proper preparation of all students before the placement of the plaque, in order for this significant initiative on behalf of the state to be adequately understood. During each classroom visit there was an adapted presentation and an explanation of what a file is (in this case a public school record) and how the file is associated with the placement of the plaque and the Holocaust itself. Each presentation was, of course, accompanied by the appropriate educational programme. Since early February, the school has borrowed the JMG’s museum item, “Hidden Children in Occupied Greece” and the JMG’s photo exhibition “The Second World War and the Holocaust of Greek Jews”. Initially, Mrs. Orietta Treveza, the JMG’s museum educator, and Mrs. Alexandra Patrikiou, a historian and JMG researcher, visited the students of the first and second grade of primary school and conducted a creative narration of the story “My friend Aaron”, so that the children would experience their first contact with the Jewish religion. On the same day, they visited the next three grades (third, fourth and fifth), where they also explained the basic principles of the Jewish religion, made an initial introduction into the subject of the Holocaust and showed an excerpt of a videotaped interview of Victor Bati, an old student of the18th Primary School and also a hidden child of the Occupation. As a result of the programmes, the younger children drew pictures and the older ones sent their messages, queries and thoughts to Victor Bati. Being encouraged by Mrs. Tatiana Spanelli, the School’s headmistress, the students of the sixth class visited the museum itself, where they were shown around by Mrs. Treveza, and saw part of the school’s file and the interview with Bati, which were presented by Mrs. Patrikiou. In a second phase, immediately after the placement of the plaque, Mrs. Zanet Battinou, the JMG’s director, along with Mrs. Patrikiou and Mrs. Spanelli visited each class separately, in order to explain to the children how the scientific research needed for the creation of the plaque was conducted, but also to give the children the opportunity to express their feelings from the entire event, by way of recovery. In addition, the students of the lower classes carried out recommended educational activities and the students of the higher classes showed the officials who attended the revelation of the honourary plaque around the photo exhibition which had been set up within the school premises.