Institute News

"Pain of Memory": New education kit and training program for teachers in Ukraine

Training seminar coincides with national program commemorating 70th anniversary of Babi Yar

Contact:  Anatoly Podolsky
Director, Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies
(044) 285-90-30

Contact:  Talia Cohen
Associate Director, Public Outreach and Communications

KYIV, UKRAINE—September 8, 2011—This weekend the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, which maintains an archive of nearly 52,000 testimonies given by survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, will organize a seminar at the Ukrainian House national center in Kyiv to train teachers on the use of Pain of Memory, a new multimedia kit designed for educators in Ukraine.

Pain of Memory is a comprehensive kit designed to enhance the educational experience of the exhibition “Shoah by Bullets: Mass Shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941-1944,” which opened yesterday at the Ukrainian House. Presented by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in partnership with Mémorial de la Shoah, Yahad-In Unum, and the Ukrainian Embassies of Israel, France, Germany, and the United States, the exhibition is based on the work of Yahad-In Unum and its President, Father Patrick Desbois. Yahad-In Unum conducts research and documentation of mass shootings that took place in Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland; the organization has collected testimony from more than 2,000 witnesses to these massacres and identified hundreds of mass graves, many of which were previously unknown.

“Shoah by Bullets” has traveled to Brussels, Paris, New York, and other cities. Its Ukraine debut is part of the official national program commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy.

Oleksandr Voytenko, one of the leading Ukrainian educators on the subjects of human rights and tolerance, designed Pain of Memory to address such topics as historical memory, moral choice in critical situations, xenophobia, and discrimination. It is suited for use in secondary-school history classes and university courses as well as specialized civics courses and extracurricular programs, and it employs innovative pedagogy to foster comparative source analysis and other critical thinking skills. While Pain of Memory is designed to support the educational use of the “Shoah by Bullets” exhibition, it is intended for use as a standalone resource as well. In addition to testimony collected by Yahad-In Unum, the kit incorporates testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive.

Attendees at the seminar this weekend will include teachers, methodology specialists, and student youth educators serving grades 9-11. Voytenko will discuss the methodology of the Pain of Memory kit, and Martin Šmok, Senior International Program Consultant for the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, will provide training on the educational use of video testimony in the classroom. Each attendee will receive a copy of the kit, which contains a users’ guide and classroom materials as well as video content; in addition to distributing physical copies, the Institute will soon make the kit available on the Ukrainian portal of its website.

The seminar was part of a program undertaken by the Institute in partnership with the Ukrainian Center of Holocaust Studies; the partners plan to conduct additional training seminars in each city in Ukraine where the exhibition will be shown. Teachers who attend seminars will learn from leading researchers and training specialists, and each attendee will help evaluate the kit by submitting a report on its use in his or her classroom.

The training program is supported by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Ukraine. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Government.

“Shoah by Bullets: Mass Shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941-1944” will show through October 3 at the Ukrainian House (2, Khreschatyk, Kyiv). Admission is free. To plan a visit, contact Vitaly Bobrov of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust studies at (044) 285-90-30.


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 USC Dana and David Dornsife 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 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.