Teaching Ukrainian Jewish history: Seminar in Ivano-Frankivsk

With the help of the German Foreign Office and other supporters, Centropa and its partners in Ukraine and Moldova have held 12 training seminars for over 400 educators in Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Chisinau, as well as online workshops during the Covid 19 pandemic.

This seminar in Ivano Frankivsk in March received over 150 applications and was attended by 30 Ukrainian teachers and educators who traveled from all across their war-torn country, spending long hours on buses and trains, to participate in the seminar. The screening of the ‘A Message from the Future: Bosnia greets Ukraine’ film found particular resonance with our Ukrainian teachers, as we discussed how to retain hope in times of war.

Seminar highlights included:

  • Introduction to the new Centropa graphic novel “Return to Rivne. A Holocaust Story”, about two girls who hid with the help of a farmer’s family during WW2. 
  • An evening of Yiddish music with Tatyana Sukorkina and Olena Simieon
  • Introduction to Centropa‘s archive and Ukrainian biographies as well as to Centropa´s online exhibition by Centropa director Ed Serotta 
  • Screening of Centropa film “A Message from the Future. Bosnia greets Ukraine”
  • Interactive group work to develop lesson plans based on Centropa material
  • Tour of “Jewish Stanislaviv”, former name for Ivano-Frankivsk, with historian Andriy Kostyshyn; 
  • Workshop with Olga Polyak (Insha Osvita), with artistic practices to implement Centropa materials when teaching Jewish history 
  • Visit to former Jewish cemetery in Ivano-Frankivsk and meeting with Igor Perelman and volunteers who cleaned the cemetery and restored some of its tombstones

Remembering Jewish history in the Caucasus: Seminar in Baku, Azerbaijan

Teacher training seminar in Kutaisi, Georgia, October 2022 (Photo: Davit Mirvelashvili)

For the first time in March 2023, Centropa held a teacher training seminar in Azerbaijan. The seminar, which took place in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku as well as Quba, invited educators from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Germany to learn about Jewish heritage and present life in the Caucasus, as well as to develop own teaching materials on Jewish history using Centropa resources.

The seminar was organized in cooperation with our local coordinator in Azerbaijan, Resource HUB. During the 3-day-seminar, participants were able to get acquainted with the work of Centropa and its educational materials as well as resources on Azerbaijan: Quite a few of our Centropa interviewees have a family connection to the country. In a guided city tour, participants learned about Baku’s Jewish history. On the evening of Shabbat, the group joined Baku’s synagogue for services. On the last day of the seminar, participants took a trip to Quba, which is a town in Northern Azerbaijan that is home to one of the largest Mountain Jewish communities worldwide. They visited the local Museum of the Mountain Jews and spoke to its director, Igor Shaulov.