Institute News

A New Generation of Learning: Holocaust Education and the Internet

USC Shoah Foundation Institute Workshop at Central European University


Contact:  Talia Cohen
Phone:  213.740.6036
Fax:  213.740.6044

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—(May 11, 2010)—On May 12–14, Central European University (CEU) will host an international workshop organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. The workshop, entitled A New Generation of Learning:  Holocaust Education and the Internet, will bring together participants engaged in Holocaust education from across Europe to discuss the educational and social implications of placing video testimony and other materials related to sensitive subjects on the Internet.

“The life stories of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses are a legacy for all humanity, which is why the Institute must always seek to broaden access to the Visual History Archive,” said USC Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen Smith. “Access via the Internet is essential to worldwide dissemination of the testimonies; but it must be undertaken with consideration of our responsibilities not only to those who gave testimony, but also to the young people who will interface with content of a difficult nature. The workshop at Central European University will provide an opportunity for the Institute and its colleagues in Europe to address these considerations together.”

“The Institute has made it a priority to support the development of testimony-based educational materials for use in countries where the testimonies originated,” said Andrea Szonyi, USC Shoah Foundation Institute Regional Consultant in Hungary.  “Working with non-governmental organizations and government entities, we are introducing educators in numerous European countries to the testimonies, and providing them with the training and support they need to craft meaningful lessons for their students. I hope the workshop at Central European University will open up dialogue about developing such materials specifically for the Internet.”

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has collected and preserved the video testimonies of nearly 52,000 Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in its Visual History Archive (VHA), which is accessible at 26 universities and other institutions across the world. As one of three sites in Europe with access to the archive, Central European University is ideally situated to host the workshop for the Institute’s colleagues in the region.

“The CEU Library is proud to have been the first in the Central and Eastern European region to offer access to the Visual History Archive. This cooperation, dating back to May 2009, forms an important part of the mission of the CEU Library. Our doors are open not only to the students and faculty of CEU for the viewing of the VHA materials, but also to all interested:  primary and secondary school educators and other partners,” said Maria Szlatky, Director of the CEU Library.

“In 2009, we were pleased to welcome the applicants of the program launched by the Holocaust Memorial Center, the CEU Library, the Educational Research and Development Institute of the Hungarian Ministry of Education, and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, which aimed to develop multimedia educational lessons for Holocaust and tolerance education. Furthermore, in the beginning of March this year, a 5-day workshop entitled Testimonies and Teaching:  New Sources and Methodologies for Jewish Studies, was built around the VHA materials. Colleagues from several European countries participated in this workshop, which was organized by the CEU Curriculum Resource Center, the CEU Jewish Studies Project, the CEU Department of Gender Studies and the CEU Library,” added Maria Szlatky.

About the workshop

A New Generation of Learning:  Holocaust Education and the Internet will explore the intersection between new media and Holocaust education, with the goal of identifying the opportunities, responsibilities, and challenges for education in an online environment. Primary goals include the articulation of shared expectations and vocabulary for the development of meaningful projects on the Internet; exploration of the state of new media education and its implications for Holocaust education; and identification of the major challenges involved in placing testimony and other sensitive materials online.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute

Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world:  nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries. The Institute is part of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California; its mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.

The Institute works within the University of Southern California and with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. In addition to preserving the testimonies in its archive, the Institute is working with partner organizations to help document the stories of survivors and other witnesses of other genocides.  

For more information, visit the Institute’s website.

About Central European University

CEU is an internationally recognized institution of graduate education in the social sciences, the humanities and business (CEU Business School). It seeks to contribute to the development of open societies in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and in emerging democracies worldwide, by promoting a system of education in which ideas are creatively, critically and comparatively examined. CEU serves as an advanced center of research and policy analysis and facilitates academic dialogue while preparing its graduates to serve as the region’s, and beyond, next generation of leaders and scholars.

For more information, visit the university’s website.