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Holocaust Educators Study Tour


As part of the educational activities of the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, twenty Canadian educators will take part in an intensive study tour to Vienna and Poland from 2-12 July 2013.

Led by the Dr. Carson Phillips, Head of Education at the Neuberger and a member of the Canadian delegation to the IHRA, the group will tour sites of Jewish heritage, culture, and remembrance in addition to sites of destruction associated with the Holocaust.

In Austria, participants will visit Schloss Hartheim, which was notorious for being one of the Nazi “euthanasia” killing centers, and the Mauthausen concentration camp. Through a generous cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, participants will engage in dialogue with pedagogical experts on issues related to teaching the Holocaust. It will provide an important opportunity for participants to engage in discussions with educational officials, classroom educators, as well as Werner Drier, Martina Maschke, and Dr. Gerhard Baumgartner, all members of the Austrian delegation to the IHRA. 

A highlight for many participants is a scheduled meeting with 96-year old Edeltrud Becher Posiles, the last known living Austrian to be awarded the distinction of Righteous Among the Nations. Becher Posiles offered sanctuary to three Jews during the Holocaust, risking her own life in doing so. She graciously agreed to meet the group when she learnt they would be coming from Canada to learn about issues of the Holocaust, and Jewish heritage and culture.

While in Poland, participants will visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, and go on to Krakow where they will meet with IHRA expert Dr. Piotr Trojanski of the Pedagogical University. A key component of each segment of this study tour is to meet classroom educators and pedagogical experts so that learning follows a layered approach. Participants will encounter first-hand the sites of Jewish culture and memory as well as tragedy, and they will engage in discussions with academics and educators about current methodologies for teaching the Holocaust.

Study Tour participants represent all segments of Canada’s education system including Middle and High School teachers in both the public and Roman Catholic school systems, as well as school board officials. Geographically, the program includes teachers from Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.