Sharing Knowledge – The Holocaust in Ukraine
The end of the Cold War prompted a reinvestigation of the Holocaust and the Second World War. Access to previously closed archives made possible unexpected discoveries, setting a course that continues to influence research to this day.
The newly acquired knowledge is now being incorporated into training programs and seminars for teachers and pupils offered by the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies (UCHS). These programs and seminars are designed to teach basic knowledge about the Holocaust and to facilitate deeper engagement with specific topics, especially the history of the five places chosen for the Protecting Memory project: Bakhiv, Kysylyn, Ostrozhets, Prokhid, and Rava-Ruska. Eye-witness accounts help to explain to the local population how the mass graves came into being and who is buried there. Growing awareness about the mass graves inspires people to take care of individual memorial sites.
The seminars are oriented toward teaching the history of the Holocaust with special attention given to multiethnic local history and Jewish-Christian relations, as well as issues of commemoration and remembrance. Working groups of seminar participants, assisted by historians, research the history of Jewish communities and the Holocaust. Their findings are used to develop projects that the seminar participants implement together with pupils in their hometowns.
To support the training program, the UCHS published a Ukrainian-language handbook, History of the Holocaust: Education and Remembrance, which has already appeared in several editions. In addition, the UCHS has compiled a collection of survivor testimonies and interviews, which is based on its own research as well as that of the Berlin-based historians working on the Protecting Memory project. Eyewitness Interviews conducted by Yahad-In Unum were also used.
The education program and accompanying pedagogical activities are carried out by the UCHS in cooperation with local teachers’ associations and with the approval of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education.