Dr. Michael Berenbaum's lecture inspired teachers to expand Holocaust curriculum.
|The Holocaust Remembrance Project's most public
event is the annual awards banquet at which clients and friends join
Holland & Knight lawyers to award the Holocaust survivors, teachers,
and student scholarship recipients. While some have had an
opportunity to see the entirety of the project and its impact, it is
seldom seen by many. Therefore, we are presenting scenes from the
Holocaust Remembrance Project week, so that all within Holland &
Knight can share in the poignant interactions among the generations.
Having heard the testimonies of seven Holocaust survivors with diverse experiences in Austria, Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia (then Sudetenland), Switzerland, and Great Britain, the Foundation's educational mission continued.
Michael Berenbaum, a leading Holocaust scholar, professor, and consultant in the formation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, led a day-long symposium for teachers. In addition to his audience of teachers, Dr. Berenbaum had the benefit of living history – eight Holocaust survivors. Teachers commented on how this day of learning would alter their method of teaching the Holocaust into more meaningful and lasting experiences for students.
Teachers are chosen to join the trip in Washington, D.C. based on three criteria: 1) a desire to teach the lessons of the Holocaust more effectively; 2) critical need for Holocaust educational materials; and 3) lack of exposure to Holocaust survivors. Each teacher is given a trunk containing $1,000 in Holocaust educational materials that will impact the education of hundreds more in their school communities. Many thanks to Steven Shapiro for underwriting a 2008 teaching trunk, as well as donors Jane and Robert Berz who underwrite a teacher trunk each year.
The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation recognizes that each young person that becomes the witness to the witness must also be empowered to teach others. To further the lessons of the Holocaust, students spend a day learning civil rights leadership skills through Youth Act!, a Street Law curriculum that develops youth leadership and vision necessary to advocate for meaningful change. Youth Act! teaches advocacy, legislation and governance, communication, coalition building, public policy, community problem-solving, public speaking, media advocacy, and the value of cooperation.
At dinner, the students, teachers, and Holocaust survivors shared experiences from the day. Students listened as teachers told them what they learned from a day with a world-renowned historian, and students shared the interesting civic exercises from the Youth Act! program. William Sessions and his family joined the group, and had an opportunity to meet with all.
That evening, many in our group had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C.'s monuments for the first time. While most elders and teachers returned to the hotel after a long look at the Lincoln Memorial, seven very wide-awake students visited many other memorials for the first time. At the FDR memorial the students stopped and read the President's quote:
WE HAVE faith that future generations will know that here, in
the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of
good will found a way to unite and produce, and fight to destroy the
forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war."