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Holocaust Education

Teacher Symposium Will Focus on Holocaust Education

A symposium to help support Indiana teachers at all levels in educating students on the Holocaust and Holocaust-related events will be held on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, June 13-14, 2023 at the Temple.

The effort is a collaboration between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the PFW Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Congregation Achduth Vesholom is the lead sponsor and generous supporter of this initiative. Find the application

Now more than ever, this education needs to take place in Indiana classrooms.

Workshop hosts are Steven Alan Carr, director of IHGS at Purdue Fort Wayne, and Stella Schafer, USHMM Teacher Fellow 2016-2017 and Tippecanoe School Corporation ELA Teacher.

The program will review best practices for teaching about the Holocaust. It also will include sessions on Judaism, eugenics, Indiana’s state mandate for teaching the Holocaust, and how to use primary source materials like films and historical newspapers to prompt students to grapple with complex questions. Teachers will take classroom-ready materials and proven resources back home with them, increasing their confidence in teaching the Holocaust to their students. Upon request, attendees can receive up to six Professional Growth Points (PGP).

Limited housing – with some meals provided – may be available at no cost to participants who need to arrive early. In addition, small stipends may be available to cover travel and other expenses.

For some attendees, the symposium may be their first visit to a Jewish house of worship and an introduction to Judaism. Rabbi Meir Bargeron will speak to the group on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. about “What is Judaism?” and “What does it mean to be Jewish?,” followed by a question-and-answer session. Temple members who are interested may attend Rabbi Meir’s talk, but kindly make a reservation to   

Zachor – Remember – Lest from this we learned nothing. The words are prominently engraved near the front entrance of Congregation Achduth Vesholom.  

We are committed to remembering the Holocaust and the six million Jews and others murdered by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators. Our Holocaust Education Committee works to ensure the lessons are not forgotten.  

Our third Holocaust Symposium, scheduled for June 2023, is designed for current teachers and tomorrow’s teachers to help them educate their students on the Holocaust and Holocaust-related topics. This year’s Symposium is a collaboration between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Purdue Fort Wayne’s Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with the Temple as lead sponsor and generous supporter.

The Temple’s Holocaust Education Committee works regularly with our Campus Partners – the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne and IHGS on related programming. This includes an annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration hosted by the Federation in the spring.  

A visit to our building also offers opportunities to learn more about this tragic period of history. 

The Holocaust Memorial sculpture by Artist Nancy McCroskey in front of our building seeks to communicate the horror of the Holocaust, the endurance of the Jewish people, and the need to remember. 

Our Madge Rothschild Resource Center is home to a Torah remnant that was burned by the Nazis. The remaining sections of the Torah were restored by the Temple as part of our 150th anniversary celebration in 1998. Our b’nei mitzvah students read from the Holocaust Torah when they are called to the bimah to commemorate l’dor vador, from generation to generation. 

A stained-glass window in our Sanctuary provides a Memorial to the Six Million. Its stark red, blazing fires reflecting the unspeakable horror and tragedy of the Holocaust and the heavy panes of blue, laced with strips of black, symbolize the bars of the concentration camps. But the millions died with the hope that the people of Israel would survive, depicted by the Star of David with sunlight rays streaming from above. The two yellow streaks remind us that the oppressors made the Jews wear this star as a badge of shame, but to the martyred it was a star of glory and salvation.  

Much of the funding for current programs comes from the Temple’s Max & Gerda Schmitz Holocaust Education Fund and the Dr. Harry W. Salon Foundation.

Holocaust survivors from Poland, Romania, Germany, and Holland resettled in Fort Wayne after World War II. They were interviewed for a video called “We Must Remember,” developed by the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne and recorded at Congregation Achduth Vesholom. 

Restoring A Torah Rescued From The Holocaust

Congregation Achduth Vesholom celebrated its 150th anniversary in October 1998 with the theme “L’dor Vador – From Generation to Generation.” The Temple launched a Torah-writing project in late 1997 to restore a holy document saved from Nazi destruction in Czechoslovakia.

The Temple’s Holocaust Memorial Committee secured on permanent loan Scroll #1172 from the Memorial Scrolls Trust housed in Westminster Synagogue of London, England. A remnant of the Torah is on display in the Temple’s Madge Rothschild Resource Center.

We regularly read from the restored Torah, which can be distinguished from our other scrolls in the Ark because it has a Torah cover with the Hebrew word “Zachor,” which means “Remember.”

Each Memorial Scroll is a memory of the past and a messenger for the future.