Aug 21, 2015
posted by Julia Ferrini
Established in 1993, the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators brings hundreds of middle, high school and community college teachers to Washington, D.C., each summer to train them in effectively teaching the Holocaust to their students. Pembroke Central School teacher Justin Loeber will be able to bring that training into the classroom this school year.
Loeber, of Silver Springs, was one of more than 200 participants who attended the 19th annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators. The three-day teachers' workshop is hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in mid-July.
The Museum gives participants a chance to interact with its scholars and educators to reinforce their understanding of Holocaust history. Additionally, educators are given the tools to figure out successful strategies in bringing the lessons of the Holocaust to their classrooms.
The conference, funded in part by the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Foundation, is a vital part of the Museum’s ongoing effort to equip educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively bring Holocaust education to their students.
“In the face of rising antisemitism and Holocaust denial, educating students about this history is becoming increasingly urgent,” said Peter Fredlake, director of the Museum’s teacher education and special programs. “As the global leader in Holocaust education, the Museum works to ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to introduce their students to this important and complex history — and show them how its lessons remain relevant to all citizens today.”
Every year, the Museum trains hundreds of teachers through training programs held in Washington and around the country. It provides these teachers with advanced tools and teaching materials for students of history, English, social studies, language arts, library science, journalism and more.
At the conference, the participants teamed up with Museum educators and scholars in sharing rationales, strategies and approaches for teaching about the Holocaust, Nazi propaganda and antisemitism. Media, such as literature, survivor testimony and diaries that the Museum provides are just some of the tools made available to the teachers.
Participants also toured the Museum’s permanent exhibition, as well as the special exhibitions Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust; Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story; and From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide.
Additionally, they heard from Holocaust survivor and Museum volunteer Henry Greenbaum. Greenbaum survived the Auschwitz Buna-Monowitz subcamp and a death march to Dachau before being liberated by U.S. soldiers in April 1945.
Once the participants completed the program, they received a set of educational materials and a $100 voucher for Holocaust-related materials in the Museum shop. The Museum’s Web site provides resources at no cost to educators, including a range of online training modules, exemplary lesson plans and extensive historical information about the Holocaust.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memorial to the Holocaust. The goal of the Museum is to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.