REPORT

ON THE 24th SEMINAR FOR TEACHERS ON
“TEACHING THE HOLOCAUST IN GREECE”
ORGANISED BY THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF GREECE

HANIA, 3-4 MAY 2018

 Introduction

The Jewish Museum of Greece (JMG) has already organised and conducted – under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs – 23 seminars for primary- and secondary-school teachers on the theme “Teaching the Holocaust in Greece”. Twelve of these were held in Athens (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) and three in Thessaloniki (2005, 2014 and 2015). In 2012, and from 2014 to 2017, seminars were also held in Ioannina, Volos, Zakynthos, Patras, Larisa and Karpenisi, Distomo and Drama, locations which not only underlined the local dimensions of the Holocaust (for example, the Bulgarian zone of occupation) but also connected the Holocaust with other crimes against the civilian population during the Second World War. The extension of the seminars beyond Athens equips educators with educational/historical material and museum educational know-how. At the same time, the concerns and questions of educators from across Greece also provides the JMG with valuable feedback on its work. This particular seminar was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which has systematically contributed to the enhancing of our regional seminars, and was dedicated to the memory of the late Nicholas Hannan-Stavroulakis, founding director of the JMG and for many years the director of the Synagogue.

General framework

The 24th seminar was organized in collaboration with Etz Hayyim Synagogue on 3–4 May 2018 and held at Hania the Cultural Centre. In total, almost 60 teachers actively participated in the two-day meeting, offering their thoughts and reflections on the teaching of the Holocaust. Holding the seminar in new places and cooperating with local bodies is a hallmark of the JMG’s approach. In particular, this seminar aimed at highlighting both the hidden history of the long Jewish presence in Crete and the destruction during the occupation of the Jewish Community of Hania. Within the framework of the seminar there was an exhibition of the works of Giorgos Sfougaras entitled “Tales from an old fort town”.

Conclusions

This seminar was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which is supporting the activities of the JMG on teaching the Holocaust as part of a two-year programme that specifically encourages the conducting of seminars outside Athens. In the Hania case, the JMG collaborated with local groups in order to deepen knowledge the about local or neighbouring communities, as well as to facilitate people to get to know one another and to encourage cooperation among the teacher community in the wider region. The cooperation with Hania Synagogue was a particularly moving and meaningful experience, and was warmly received by the teachers, many of whom did not know the details about the life and fate of Hania’s Jewish Community. They applauded the excellent organisation and provision of free educational materials and our intention that this pilot seminar in Crete should be followed up on soon and also perhaps in another city on the island. They were enthused and moved by the acquaintance and the conversation with Sifis Ventouras. A steady demand was to offer more experiential workshops and expand to other themes such as antisemitism, cinema, concentration camp literature, museum narratives etc

Zanet Battinou

© Jewish Museum of Greece, June 2018