On November 4, 10, and 11, Centropa and IBB Minsk hosted an online seminar on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Western European Jews to Minsk. The seminar aimed to give about 75 educators from Belarus, Poland, Russia, Germany, Moldova, Czech Republic, and Ukraine the opportunity to expand their knowledge about commemoration practices and Holocaust history in Belarus, the deportations to the ghetto of Minsk, and the Jewish heritage of the region.
On the first day, participants were greeted by Michael Nowak, from the German embassy in Minsk, and were then introduced to Centropa’s multilingual project website centropa.pamjat.org and education program in Belarus and Russia. Dr. Iryna Kashtalian’s IBB educational materials for the Minsk Ghetto (which could be used by students) as well as Centropa & IBB’s upcoming Minsk Ghetto audio walk were also presented. An introduction to the history of deportations was given by Alexander Neureiter, after which Aliaksandr Dalhouski gave a lecture on “the postwar memory about western European Jews deported to Minsk”, before Lior Oren shared his personal story of how his family was deported from Hamburg to Minsk in November 1941.
Day 2 consisted of a group work activity, a lecture on the history of Jewish partisans and resistance in Belarus during World War II by Anika Walke, and a presentation on how teachers can use Centropa’s film on Elena Drapkina in their own lesson plans by Dr. Iryna Kashtalian and Iryna Bernat.
On the third and final day, plans for the upcoming new Centropa film about Mark Epstein, a survivor of the Leningrad blockade, were presented and The Shtetl Routes project was introduced by Tamara Vershitskaya. Next, the Centropa student photography competition was presented, and a discussion about the Vanished World Blog by Christian Herrmann, a photography project on Jewish heritage sites in Belarus, ended off the three-day seminar program.
Over the course of the seminar, participants had the opportunity to network and interact constructively while sharing commemoration and memory practices from their respective countries in group work sessions. These were moderated by Centropa coordinators: IonUngureanu (Moldova), Ewa Arendarczyk (Poland) Andrii Koshelnyk (Ukraine) and . All the educational materials discussed during the three days will be available for them to use, free of charge, in their educational activities.