“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
This symposium on trips for students to sites of Holocaust remembrance will take place on 17-18 September 2011 and is the extension of the five previous international symposia held in Lacaune.
(For informations about the books resulting from these symposia see: http://ajl.celeonet.fr/.)
In 2007, a team of sociologists at the Jean-François Champollion University Training and Research Center carried out a statistical survey involving 1301 high school students. The inquiry was set up both to measure the general knowledge of high school students about the Holocaust and to get a better understanding of their opinions. The results came out at a time when research studies were first being published about the difficulties teachers faced when dealing with the Holocaust in class.
The time has obviously come to take stock of this pedagogical action designed to enable young people both to visit the places where the tragic facts took place and to face directly and personally the material aspects of the Holocaust. In France such trips have considerably increased in number over the last few years. The initiatives, generous and well meaning, nonetheless suffer from not being carefully enough thought out. There has been little coordination and the results of the experiences have not been scrupulously taken into account. It is perhaps inevitable, then, that some twenty five years after the first initiatives, organizers are turning to a significant body of research and references to assess and analyze previous successes as well as difficulties. The organizing idea is that acting now will avoid calling into question both the success and the encountered difficulties of these remembrance trips.
To move forward with such an assessment and analysis, a national and even international conference appears necessary especially since these trips do not take place in France alone. They are even more frequent in such countries as Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Scandinavian countries and Israel. An evaluative and reflective study needs to be extended to include those countries, too.
Moreover, while learning about the situation in the previously mentioned countries is essential, it is crucial too to increase knowledge about the host country, such as Poland, where institutions like the Auschwitz Museum or the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation play a major part, comparable with the one played in France by the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, after the Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center (CDJC).
We suggest adding in France trips to the deported children's Maison d'Izieu, as well as to the internment camps such as those in Loiret, Rivesaltes, Les Milles in Aix-en-Provence. These trips have become more and more frequent and would be in addition to the voyage to the concentration camps.
Numerous institutions are involved in the organization of these school trips: Regional Councils, General Councils, Town Councils, associations, teachers and schools. Independent from one another, most have very few opportunities to exchange their experiences. The Symposium will thus provide an adequate place for exchanges in France as well as other European countries and Israel.
Among many themes of study, the participants could debate the question of the beginning, development and extension of such trips. As for the present situation, they could deal with the number of classes, the fund raising and the organization involved.
Another type of question relates to the school children concerned: what age seems most adequate? What kinds of problems may arise in some cases?
The way the young are prepared for such trips can also be a subject for examination; obviously good preparation leads to efficient results, yet ways of maximizing success remain debatable.
Another problem to consider is the kind of accompaniment: Adults? Teachers? Guides? Witnesses?
A last point to be assessed concerns the students' behavior at different stages of the trip. How does the behavior compare with the organizers' expectations concerning real benefits as well as the encountered difficulties?
There will be lectures presented by the people directly involved in the remembrance trips
- In France the speakers will include deportees/witnesses; teachers as well as members of local communities, memorial associations and institutions, administration.
- in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Scandinavian countries, Poland, Israel...
Researchers will present their studies about various aspects of this pedagogical activity that fall into different approaches. This will enhance lively discussions among involved people.
Each Round Table will include four contributors, each speaking for twenty minutes followed by a twenty minute debate concluding in a twenty minutes exchange with the audience.
The languages used will be French or English.
The call for papers will end on December 31, 2010.
S C H E D U L E
Saturday September 10
Round Table I
10 a.m.-12: remembrance trips: history and state of affairs in France and other European countries.
Round Table II
2-4 p.m.: remembrance trips are suitable for what kind of students?
Round Table III
4-6 p.m.: the preparation of remembrance trips.
Sunday September 11
Round Table IV
10 a.m.-12: remembrance trips: organization, supervision, behavior and reactions.
Round Table V
2-4 p.m.: remembrance trips: effects, benefits, difficulties.
The program will be finalized by January 31, 2011.
Send proposals to: Jacques Fijalkow (jfijalko at univ-tlse2.fr)
· Contributor's last and first names
· Service attached to
· number of Round Table(s) chosen (several are possible, but only one will be retained)
· abstract of paper
· language used