The Jewish Museum of Greece has been designed from the start as an educational Museum and isthe only organisation in Greece offering educational programmes on the subject of the Holocaust.
These programmes, designed for children and teenagers up to 18 years old, are one of the Museum’s top priorities. They include a short introductory tour of the permanent exhibition, a video projection, subsequent discussion in the exhibition’s area devoted to the Holocaust, and the study of relevant documents and pictures.
The structure and content of each programme depend on the age of the young visitors, their levels of previous knowledge and their specific interests. Informational material and a list of bibliographical sources are put at the disposal of the children’s escorts, to assist in preparing the children before the visit so that they will be better able to participate in the various educational activities. Drama activities, such as the pantomime “Albert’s story” are used to enhance the information provided and promote understanding and empathy on the part of the young visitors.
The Museum puts these programmes at the disposal of all schools so that as many students as possible will come into contact with Holocaust-related material. A small photographic exhibition on the same subject is available for schools that would like to host it, and has been in demand for a long time.
The Jewish Museum of Greece has also planned and hosted two seminars for teachers of Elementary schools and High Schools and Museum educators. These seminars, titled “Teaching the Holocaust in Greece” took place in Athens and Thessalonica, in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
The Museum Packs are another of the Museum’s educational innovations. These are specially designed cases with a rich visual material, enabling teachers to introduce their pupils to the issue after a brief preparation. These draw on international experience and contain original material appropriate to their subject and educational target. They are especially useful in teaching about the Holocaust in schools that have no access to the Jewish Museum.
The first two Museum Packs, titled “Hidden Children during the Occupation” and “The Holocaust of the Greek Jews, 1941-1944” were presented during the first and second seminar for educators, respectively.
During the second seminar, the J.M.G. also presented three new publications: a study manual for the Holocaust in Greece, based on historic data and sources from the Museum’s archives and two illustrated books for children. The first introduces children to the Holocaust through the story of a pair of wooden clogs worn by a young inmate of a concentration camp, while the second, for younger children, aims at enhancing inter-religious knowledge, through the story of the friendship of two boys.
As an educational Museum, the J.M.G. has taken upon itself the important social mission to respond to the increasing need for understanding and respect among people and peoples, by presenting another aspect of the Greek people and teaching about difference and intercultural exchange.
The educational programmes, as all the other activities of the J.M.G. on the subject of the Holocaust, contribute to the promotion of the ideals of democracy, social responsibility, and human rights. By providing knowledge and accurate information – all of them significant weapons in the battle against ignorance, discrimination and intolerance – the Jewish Museum tries to serve the struggle for equality among people.