In recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, 2018, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies hosted the 3rd Annual National Policy Conference on Holocaust Education in Toronto at Novotel North York.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
6:30pm – registration
7:00pm – dinner
7:45pm – school board recognition
8:00pm – Chief Kai Liu, Cobourg Police Service
8:15pm – Holocaust Survivor Max Eisen
9:15pm – closing remarks
Sunday, January 28, 2018
8:00am – registration & breakfast
8:30am – opening remarks from conference co-chairs & honorary chair
9:00am – Holocaust survivor panel
Topic: the future of Holocaust education
10:00am – break
10:15am – Liebe Geft – Director, Museum of Tolerance
Topic: the future of Holocaust education from a museum perspective
11:15am – Wendy Lower – Acting Director, Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM
Topic: Hitler’s Furies and the future of Holocaust education from a research perspective
12:15pm – lunch
1:00pm – Educator panel
Topic: best practices in Holocaust education
2:00pm – The Hon. Irwin Cotler
Topic: the importance of Holocaust education – past, present & future
2:30pm – closing remarks
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27TH, 2018
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Max Eisen - Author, Public Speaker & Holocaust Survivor
Max Eisen is an author, public speaker and Holocaust survivor. He travels throughout Canada, and overseas, giving talks about his experiences as a concentration camp survivor, to students at all levels of education from elementary school to university, teachers, politicians, law enforcement personnel, and the community at large. In 2016, Eisen had his memoir published in a book titled By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz. His memoir was one of 5 finalists in Canada’s prestigious Charles Taylor Prize, sponsored by RBC.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28TH, 2018
SPEAKER: The Honourable Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C.
Irwin Cotler is the Chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer. In 2014 he was elected Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues, and recently received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award. In its citation, the Law Society recognized “The Honourable Irwin Cotler’s tireless efforts to ensure peace and justice for all. In his varied roles as law professor, constitutional and comparative law scholar, international human rights lawyer, counsel to prisoners of conscience, public intellectual, peace activist, Member of Parliament, and Minster of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Mr. Cotler has been a leader and role model. Through his advocacy work both in Canada and internationally, he has transformed the lives of many”.
SPEAKER: Liebe Geft - Director, Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles)
Liebe Geft is the Director of the Museum of Tolerance, which is the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an internationally renowned human rights organization dedicated to educating about the Holocaust, confronting antisemitism and bigotry, and promoting tolerance and human dignity for all. Since 1998 she has successfully integrated the Museum’s educational and outreach divisions, including Youth Education, Professional Training, Public Programming, Exhibitions and Special Events. She also contributes to the ongoing development of new exhibits, films and programs that have established the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance as the preeminent Holocaust educational institution in the Western United States of America and placed it in the vanguard of the changing role of museums as agents of social change.
SPEAKER: Wendy Lower - Acting Director of the Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Wendy Lower has been associated with the USHMM in various roles since 1994 as a historical consultant for special exhibits and a member of the Museum Council’s Academic Committee. For her research on the Holocaust, she has received numerous fellowships and awards. From 2004-2007, Lower held a tenure track professorship at Towson University, MD in the history department. From there, she moved to Munich Germany as a German Research Foundation Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich (2007-2012). In Munich, she introduced several courses on the Holocaust, directed an oral history program collecting testimonies of perpetrators and bystanders and successfully co-led an initiative to establish a federally funded German Center for Holocaust studies at the Institute for Contemporary History. She returned to the USA in 2012 to take up the John K. Roth Chair, Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College, and was also named the Director of the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights. Lower is the author of Nazi Empire- Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (2005), The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia (2011); and co- editor (with Ray Brandon) of Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization (2008). Her book, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (2013) was a finalist for the National Book Award and has been translated into 23 languages.
PANEL DISCUSSION: BEST PRACTICES IN EDUCATION
Ian Jones - Retired Principal, Milton District High School
Ian Jones, retired principal of Milton District High School, has been an educator for over 43 years. During this time, the concepts of diversity and tolerance were a constant theme in his career. Ian has led students to numerous Holocaust sites, and has encouraged the study of the Shoah in every discipline in his high school. Through his leadership, the school has written new courses, performed original dramas, and hosted a major conference on Holocaust education. Ian has been the recipient of the Ontario Government’s Newcomers Champion Award, and has received the Halton District School Board Award of Excellence. He was chosen as the town of Milton’s Citizen of the Year, and was named one of 30 educators selected as Canada’s Outstanding Principals. Ian has been nominated by Yad Vashem Canada for the Ontario Government’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Ian is regularly invited to speak about “One School, One Voice, One World”…the story of Milton District High School. He lives with his wife, Anne, in Campbellville, Ontario.
PANELIST: Jennifer Gerwlivch, English Department Head, York Catholic District School Board
Jennifer Gerwlivch’s journey in Holocaust education began in 2001 through the “Learning from the Past, Teaching for the Future” initiative at York University. This innovative program, which brought teacher candidates from Canada, Germany, and Poland together to explore Holocaust and anti-racism education during a field study in Europe and a symposium in Toronto, inspired Jennifer to bring Holocaust education into her work as a classroom English teacher. Through the York Catholic District School Board’s “The Holocaust in History and Living Memory” summer program, Jennifer has continued her work by developing intermediate and senior English courses based on literature about the Holocaust. In these courses, students read a variety of texts including novels, graphic novels, memoirs, and short works that relate to the places and stories that they encounter during a two week field study in Germany and Poland. Through individual and collaborative learning opportunities, the students contextualize their understanding of the Holocaust through their reading and field study experiences, and bear witness to the stories they have read and heard, and the lessons they have learned.
PANELIST: Bożena Karwowska - Associate Professor, Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies, University of British Columbia
Bożena Karwowska's academic interests include reader response and reception theories, feminist theories and representations of the Holocaust. Among her four monographs and five edited volumes is Body, Sexuality, Concentration Camps (2009), a book devoted to underrepresented aspects of the Holocaust in memoirs and literary accounts. She directed UBC Witnessing Auschwitz (2014-17), an undergraduate intensive research seminar run in cooperation with the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Essays by students who participated in the seminar are included in The More I Know, The Less I Understand, a book recently published by the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum. She contributes articles to “Teksty Drugie”, “Canadian Slavonic Papers”, “Ruch Literacki” and “Zagłada Żydów”. She is currently working on various aspects of spatial theories and issues of gender and national memories and their pedagogical values for the Holocaust education.
PANELIST: Michelle Phair - Teacher, Regina Catholic School Division
Throughout her twenty years of teaching, Michelle Phair has been interested in human rights issues, social justice and the role history plays in shaping our identity, particularly concerning the genocides of the 20th century. In order to actively infuse these themes into her curricula, Michelle’s professional development includes the Educator Certificate Programme at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, the Moose Jaw Holocaust Education Sharing Day, the National Holodomor Education Conference in Winnipeg, and Treaty Ed Camp at the University of Regina. Her students recently participated in the Holodomor National Awareness Tour bus experience. Primary sources and witness testimony have been essential in creating engaging and relatable learning experiences for her students. Michelle was one of four Saskatchewan teachers from Regina Catholic Schools selected to accompany a group of Ontario students and teachers to Germany and Poland in July 2017 as part of their course: The Holocaust in History and Living Memory. She is part of a team of educators working to develop a Saskatchewan course of study that would offer students a similar opportunity to become witnesses through the integration of Holocaust Education and Social Justice.
PANELIST: Ayesha Shaikh -Learning Leader for High School Success & Social Studies, Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School, Calgary Board of Education
Ayesha Shaikh has been teaching Social Studies for 31 years and was part of the Social Studies curriculum redesign from 2002 – 2006 with Alberta Education. As a member of the high school writing group she worked extensively with key stakeholders to create an issue based curriculum which challenges students to critically think about atrocities of the past and present. As a participant of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies' Compassion2Action Holocaust Education Tour, she continues to share the message of tolerance and anti-Semitism with students and adults alike.
PANEL DISCUSSION: FUTURE OF HOLOCAUST EDUCATION
Shael Rosenbaum - Chairman, Sarah & Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre (Toronto)
Shael Rosenbaum is Principal and President of Fremont Street Holdings, a private commercial and residential real estate holdings company. Shael is Chairman of the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto, a member of the Next Generation Council of the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, Past Chair of the Canadian Young Adult March of the Living and Founding Partner of the Next Venture Philanthropy Fund. He is the recipient of various awards including the 2016 UJA Leadership Development Award. Recently, Shael Graduated from The Joshua Institute and is a Producer of Several Documentary Films. He obtained a degree in Biological and Cultural Anthropology from Western University. Shael also earned a degree on Urban Planning with a specialization in City Infrastructure. Shael is the grandson of four Polish Holocaust Survivors and both his parents were born in Displaced Persons centres in Europe following the Shoah. Holocaust Education and Remembrance plays a significant role in his life and continues to be the cornerstone of his philanthropic work.
PANELIST: Max Eisen - Holocaust Survivor
Max was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia in 1929 to a large Orthodox Jewish family. After the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944, Max was deported alongside his immediate family to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother, two younger brothers and sister were murdered almost immediately upon their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp in May of 1944. Max, with his father and uncle were selected out for work detail and sent to Auschwitz I. Max survived life as a slave labourer in Auschwitz alone, as his father and uncle were selected out for medical experimentation shortly after their arrival. In January of 1945 Max was forced to participate in the infamous death march across Europe where thousands died from exposure to severe weather conditions and malnutrition. Max passed through Mauthausen, Melk and was eventually liberated in Ebensee on May 6, 1945. In 1949, Max was allowed entry into Canada as a displaced person. He arrived in Toronto in October 1949 and had a successful career in business. After a court case in Toronto in 1985 involving a Holocaust denier Max felt compelled to get involved with the Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto as a speaker/educator. Max has been a witness at two war crimes trials and he speaks to thousands of individuals each year about his survival during the Holocaust and the importance of being vigilant in the face of hate.
PANELIST: Bill Glied - Holocaust Survivor
Bill Glied was born in Subotica, in the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia. The entire Glied family had been involved in the flour mill business since the 1700s; Bill's father, Alexander, ran the local flour mill in Subotica. In 1941, when Germany invaded and ceded the territory to Fascist Hungary, the mill was confiscated, and all Jews were forced to wear the yellow star; but the young boy was more interested in soccer than war. All that changed in 1944 when Germany occupied Hungary. In March of 1944, Bill, his parents and sister, along with the rest of the town’s 4000 Jews were deported in cattle cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Separated immediately upon arrival, he was never to see his mother and sister again. His father died a day before their liberation from Dachau Concentration Camp where they were sent 20 days after their arrival in Auschwitz. Bill became a successful businessman in Canada and cherishes his new home country. He has been a witness in two war crimes trials. Bill was among the founders of the Holocaust Centre in Toronto and has been actively sharing his testimony with Canadian groups of all ages since 1998, and participating on March of the Living since 2006; he conveys an important message of hope and personal responsibility.
PANELIST: Susan Pasternak - Holocaust Survivor
Susan Pasternak was 7 months old when the war broke out in Poland in September of 1939. Her parent’s names were Mordechai and Sarah Friedman and Susan was their first and only child. Susan was fortunate enough to never see an extermination camp as her birth mother arranged for a Polish woman to hide the family, though not before her father was killed in the ghetto. Susan and her mother managed to sneak out of the ghetto and arrive at a Polish woman’s apartment where they lived for three and a half years, under a table. The table was covered with a black cloth that covered the entire table and went all the way to the floor so that they could not be seen by anybody. After those three and a half years, Susan’s mother wrote to her sister, Rosa Weinstein, who lived in Canada. Rosa arranged for passage to come to Canada. However, before departing, Susan's mother had a heart attack and died. Susan was sent to an orphanage in France, and from there to Germany, where she stayed for two years. Meanwhile, Rosa had enlisted help from the international Red Cross to find out what happened. In May 1947, two years after the war had ended, Rosa and Susan were re-connected; Susan then went from England to Halifax. Susan was one of the first children to cross the Atlantic after the war ended.
PANELIST: Stefania Sitbon - Holocaust Survivor
Stefania Sitbon was born in Warsaw, Poland in February 1939. Stefania and her family were confined to the Warsaw Ghetto where her father joined the resistance. Stefania's mother took whatever measures necessary to find food for Stefania and her brother, including smuggling out of the ghetto at night - which was at tremendous risk to her life. Before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Stefania, her brother and mother were moved to the Warsaw Zoo and were hidden by zoo owners, Jan and Antonia Zabinsky for two months. The story of the Zabinskys was recently told in the major motion picture, The Zookeeper's Wife. Stefania and her family were separated into different hiding places upon departure from the Warsaw Zoo; they were re-united after the war. While life was not easy following the war - Stefania's father died in 1948, all of her extended family was murdered in the Holocaust, everything was gone - Stefania looks back on the strength of her mother fondly: "She is the most incredible person I have ever known and she is the angel of my life."
“The Future of Holocaust Education”
In recognition of the 2018 International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is hosting its third annual National Policy Conference on Holocaust Education in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. FSWC welcomes papers focusing on the future of Holocaust education. Manuscripts in English will be considered for a special publication to be released at the conference and published digitally at www.fswc.ca. In addition, one manuscript will be selected for presentation at the conference.
DEADLINE: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
CLICK HERE for submission guidelines
The Wiesenthal Essay & Creative Arts Competition is designed to foster knowledge and interest in Holocaust Studies among elementary and high school students to ensure that the memory of those whose lives were destroyed by antisemitism will not be forgotten. The program also aims to empower students to take action and to develop proactive strategies for countering hatred, raising awareness and promoting Canadian democratic values in their schools and communities.
Reflecting on the Holocaust, survivor and post-war Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal once said, “For evil to flourish, it only requires that good men/women to do nothing.” This powerful statement is no less applicable today than it was during the Second World War. It is a call to action that reaches across the decades to remind us that we can all play an important role in fighting hatred in our own communities by refusing to be bystanders to injustice.
In celebration of Simon Wiesenthal’s legacy, we encourage young people across Canada to take up the role of “witness” in their own schools and communities, to speak out about the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity, past and present. This contest provides an opportunity to remember those whose lives were stolen by hatred, to commemorate the courage of those who fought back, and to reaffirm the importance of lessons learned during the Holocaust when considering human rights issues today.
This contest is an opportunity for all Grades 7-12 Canadians to commemorate acts of moral courage during the Holocaust through creative expression. Students can channel their ideas about the Holocaust through personal essays or by composing original visual art.
The theme of this year’s competition is “Remember.”
· December 8th, 2017 – Essays and artwork due
· January 12th, 2018 – Finalists identified by review committee
· January 19th, 2018 – Winners notified
· January 27th, 2018 – Presentation of awards
Contestants must be in Grades 7 - 12
· Each entry must be submitted with the Student Information Form
· There are 2 categories in the contest: the essay competition and the creative arts competition. Each of these categories is then subdivided into a Junior (Grades 7-8) and Senior (Grades 9-12) division.
· Students may submit one entry in each category (one essay, one piece of artwork) for their age group.
· All essays must be submitted to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies electronically, by mail, or in person no later than December 8th, 2017. Artwork may be submitted in person or by mail (See Guidelines below).
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center
for Holocaust Studies
5075 Yonge Street, Suite 902
*Please submit artwork by mail or deliver in person
Essays can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winning entries will be displayed at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies’ National Policy Conference on Holocaust Education on January 27th & 28th, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario. First, Second and Third place finalists will be on display and recipients will be notified by January 19th.
CLICK HERE for Essay Guidelines
CLICK HERE for Creative Arts Guidelines
CLICK HERE for Student Information Form