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Educators from Russia at ITS

Educators from Russia at the ITS.

At the beginning of April 2013, a seminar was held in collaboration with the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center and the House of the Wannsee Conference at the International Tracing Service (ITS). Fifteen educators from twelve different regions of the Russian Federation visited the ITS in order to learn about the history of Nazism and the persecution of the Jews. Afterwards, the event was continued in Berlin.

Among the visitors were teachers, professors, and lecturers from colleges and universities, as well as teachers of archives and youth workers. In contrast to the education that takes place in Germany, the Holocaust is still poorly addressed in Russia, remarked the participants of the Russian seminar. Although the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center and its representatives have laid the foundation for this education in eleven regions of the country, it is still often a pioneer in addressing the subject of the Holocaust in Russia.

At the ITS, the seminar participants were given an overview of the history of the institution, its role, and its document collections. Representatives of the ITS in particular presented projects in the field of education and the teaching materials. "In the past, the Holocaust played no role in the curricula of Russian schools," said Elisabeth Schwabauer, Associate in Research and Education at ITS. "It was always spoken of the Great Patriotic War, often not differentiating between the references to civilians and Soviet citizens. Jews as a separate group of victims were never mentioned."

Afterwards, the teachers had the opportunity to do research in the digital database of the ITS. "The electronic archive of ITS is an archive of the future," said Professor Dr. Dmitri Aronov. "For the little-researched topic in Russia of the displaced persons, there are valuable documents in Arolsen." For the future, the organizers and participants can foresee creating and sharing teaching materials. "The teachers made note of the new knowledge that was discovered in this educational seminar," said Professor Ilya Altman, director of the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center in Moscow. "The seminar is an important message for the archive education in the Russian Federation."