07 Jul 2005

Jessica in Europe

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Independence Day was also Jessica's birthday, but unfortunately you can't wish her happy birthday right now, as she is on her way to Europe with the Jewish Labor Committee's Holocaust Teachers Program. In Europe, she will be visiting Poland and the Czech Republic to study with leading Holocaust scholars and visiting the camps. Hopefully she'll have some time to see a bit of the less sad sides of Warsaw and Prague as well.
From the JLC's website:
In Poland, we will spend time in Warsaw, Krakow and Lublin, where teachers can still touch history. They can see traces of the former death camps, gas chambers and crematoria. They will visit the Jewish Historic Institute in Warsaw, a worthwhile museum with important archives, Holocaust materials and exhibitions that attract many international scholars and educators. Teachers will listen to prominent historians from Yad Vashem and Lohamei HaGeta’ot, as well as to testimony from survivors still living in Poland.
In the Czech Republic, our group will visit the infamous Theresienstadt concentration camp, where the Nazis brought Jews from many countries. This camp was supposed to be a German “showcase� for the International Red Cross; in reality, it was a camp of suffering, of pain, of death and most of all a transit stop to the gas chambers of Auschwitz for thousands upon thousands of men, women and especially children.
After Prague, we will travel to Washington, D.C., for three days of evaluation, lectures and workshops at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The pattern of telling people about this trip is almost always the same : “What are you doing this summer?” – “I'm going to Europe” – “How much fun, what are you doing there?” – “Visiting the ghettos and death camps of the Holocaust” – ”... oh, um … yay …”
In reality, Jessie has been studying this for quite a while now, and has used it as a case study for her units on human rights and genocide in the 20th century. We both feel that it is very important to teach these subjects meaningfully to her students, and I am very proud of her for being accepted to this program. It has been over 60 years since Auschwitz (one of the camps she will be visiting) was liberated, and there are only so many more years we will have first person witnesses with us.
So, wish Jessica luck and I'll keep everyone updated on her adventures.
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