Summer Teachers Institute Elena

Posted on August 18, 2010 by

The first week of August the JMM, in conjunction with the Baltimore Jewish Council, presented its 6th annual Summer Teachers Institute. The goal of the STI is to help teachers, through intensive lectures, programs, and discussion, how to teach the difficult subjects that surround the Holocaust.

Teachers listen to Dr. Marshall Stevenson at the RFLM

This year (my first year at the JMM) a fourth day was added to the program. The first day we began (after breakfast, of course) with a lecture about camps and ghettos from Dr. Joseph White of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. White spoke about the large number of camps and ghettos that were created during the Shoah in Europe, and their conditions. Dr. White was followed by Louise Geczy who spoke about the children in the ghetto of Terezin, particularly about the artwork that they created. Terezin was considered a “propaganda” camp that functioned to show the Red Cross that living conditions in Nazi ghettos were humane.

A teacher uses resource materials at RFLM

After a lunch at Lenny’s Deli, we headed over to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. There we treated to a lecture by Dr. Marshall Stevenson about the past and future of Black-Jewish relations. Afterwards we were given a moment to walk through the temporary exhibit Beyond the Swastika, an exhibition that is co-sponsored by the JMM.

The Vienna Emigration Chart, courtesy of USHMM
On the second day we headed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). After a few hours to explore the galleries on their own, we heard from Dr. Ann Millin of USHMM, who took us through the steps museum professionals take in researching and identifying an object. The “Vienna Emigration Chart” shows statistics about Jews in Austria along with the official process for Jewish emigration. The chart shows how difficult (and expensive) it was for Jews to try and leave Austria. Dr. Millin took us through the process of identifying the different components of the chart, names, dates, facts.

Teachers discussing life after the Shoah

On the third day we discussed spiritual resistance of the Holocaust. Our first presenter, Myra Perel, showed art that was created during the Shoah at camps like Terezin, and by survivors after the Holocaust. Myra’s presentation was followed by a presentation of photographs of Baltimore area survivors taken by photographer Lisa Shifren. We jumped right into a presentation by Erika Schon, the director of the Baltimore Hebrew Institute. Her presentation about the music of the Shoah had teachers singing and interacting.

Mr. Rubin Szatjer, telling his Holocaust survival story

After a hearty lunch we discussed Literature of the Shoah with Patricia Marlatt, followed by a survivor testimony by Rubin Sztajer. Mr. Szatjer spoke of his experiences first with his family in a ghetto, the work camp Markstadt, and later Bergen Belson. A powerful speaker with an emotional story, Mr. Sztajer had the room in complete silence.

Teachers reflect on the week long institute

On the final day we began with a liberator’s testimony by Mr. Sol Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein spoke about his experience as a solider in the U.S. Army, and how his troop liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp. Mr. Goldstein was followed by Dr. Russell Spinney from UMBC and Dr. Valerie Thaler, who spoke about life after the Shoah for survivors, including displaced persons camps and how they transitioned (over the course of many years) back into society. Our final presentation for the week was Dr. Arthur Abramson, the Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. Dr. Abramson spoke about the State of Israel and the history of the state. Dr. Hanna Bor of the Baltimore Hebrew Institute lead a reflections session with the teachers and after a long, intense week, we said goodbye.

Summer Teachers Institute from Jewish Museum of Maryland on Vimeo.

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