Over the past two weeks, the Education Department at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has been busy with:
11 Holocaust survivor presenters
11 school boards reached
37 programs presented
3,300+ students reached
2 provinces (BC & Ontario)
In-Person Presentations Slowly Starting to Return
Daniella Lurion, Director of FSWC's Tour for Humanity, taught the first in-person student program of the year to a class of elementary students north of Toronto in the York Catholic District School Board last week. It was so exciting to be able to build off the energy of the classroom to deliver an impactful program about the history of hatred and intolerance in Canada.
While the in-person programs are slowly getting booked, we continue to work every day in the virtual space, including offering programs featuring Holocaust survivor speakers. Last week, Holocaust survivor Andy Réti spoke to a group of elementary school students who were extremely attentive and respectful, thanks to the preparation work and overall tone set by their outstanding teacher. When Andy was finished speaking, many of the students came up to the screen, one by one, to ask Andy thoughtful questions which included: "Was it hard for you emotionally after the war? Did you ever have a Bar Mitzvah? Did you ever meet someone with a tattoo? Did you ever talk to your kids about what you went through?" The students all listened attentively to Andy's responses. It was a highly respectful experience and Andy was touched!
Tour for Humanity Back on the Road
The Tour for Humanity, FSWC's mobile human rights education centre, was back on the road last night following an almost two-year hiatus. We visited the Halton Regional Police Service to present a Global Perspectives on Genocide workshop to a group of high school students and future leaders participating in HRPS's PEACE Youth Leadership Program. The workshop educates students about the Holocaust and other genocides and inspires them to stand up against hate and intolerance.
Memorializing the Holocaust: Perspectives from Austria and Canada
FSWC President & CEO Michael Levitt joined a distinguished panel of speakers in a program hosted by the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa to mark the opening of the new Shoah Wall of Names memorial in Vienna, Austria. Other panelists included Hannah Lessing (Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism), Martin Engelberg (Member of the Austrian Parliament, sponsor of a bill allowing descendants of Austrian victims of the Nazi regime to obtain Austrian citizenship), and Naomi Kramer (President of the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Foundation).
Professional Development Continues
FSWC continued antisemitism education and training program with the York Region District School Board. Over the past two weeks, more than 400 school board members from different departments have participated in the program that will continue into the new year.
Educators and corporate staff from across the province have continued to attend the virtual professional development programs hosted by FSWC. In the last two weeks, the Rediscovering the Art of Conversation: The Hive workshop for teachers; the Combatting Online Hate workshop for parents; Holocaust survivor Max Eisen's testimony presented to eOne staff; and the From Kristallnacht to Canada: Antisemitism Then and Now workshop for RBC staff filled FSWC's virtual classrooms across Canada and beyond.