Peacemakers Today - 70 years after
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: Nov 30, 2015
In a time of rising ethnic and religious intolerance, we saw the need to teach young people about the danger of racist ideology and prejudice. We used the concrete example of the Holocaust and our aim was to encourage the participants to learn from history and become more sensitive to current expressions of bigotry.
The objectives included a better understanding of the Holocaust through meeting survivors and visiting authentic sites; drawing lessons from history and applying them to current situations; getting to know and respect each other in a multicultural, multilingual setting and learning to work together on a common creative work.
28 high school students (16 – 19 years old) participated in the project: 10 from Germany, 6 from Israel and 12 from the Czech Republic. The participants were chosen by the parent organizations on the basis of their interest in the project and in modern history.
Two five-day activities were organized according to the plan, one in Prague and Terezin, the Czech Republic, and the other in Israel. In the first activity the participants learned about the course of the Holocaust, the role of prejudice in shaping anti-Semitic propaganda and about individuals who risked their lives to save Jews. They visited authentic sites, met a survivor and participated in seminars and workshops led by experts. They were led to think about the causes of the Holocaust as well as current examples of prejudice. They exchanged ideas about the form of a common creative output and made the necessary arrangements: they divided their roles and started assembling material for the common work.
In the second activity, the participants continued the learning by meeting Holocaust survivors and experts in Israel. They met Jews and Arabs who engage in a coexistence project. They also finalized the concept of their common work.
The finished their common work in the form of a collage, they set up a website and a short video was presented to a global audience at the annual conference in Jerusalem. Now it is available to be used by the participating organizations and at public events in all three countries.
Through informal education the participants gained better knowledge of the tragic past, understood the danger of prejudice and racist ideologies and became more sensitive to expressions of racism and anti-Semitism in their societies. They met their peers from other countries and through them learned about their societies. In this way, they made a first-hand multicultural experience, supported by their focus on the same subject and involvement in a creative work.
Students and the general public in Germany, Israel and the Czech Republic learned about the project through media coverage and from the participants who become multipliers. In addition, use of the project output is planned in new projects in which the participating organizations are involved, in particular in schools. It is expected that the results will inspire and encourage others.
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