All over Ukraine, testimony from the Visual History Archive is inspiring children to create remarkable artwork representing true scenes of discrimination during the Holocaust. With their artwork, each of these young Ukrainians is hoping to earn a place at an annual summer camp dedicated to building tolerance and awareness of their country’s diverse cultures.
The two-week residential summer camp, called Sources of Tolerance, is an intense inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance building course for 120 children of minority racial and ethnic origin aged nine to 17. The project’s mission is to facilitate dialogue between children of national minority groups, child refugees and mainstream kids, to strengthen social responsibility and empathy among teenagers and to assist integration of minority members and refugees and victims of conflict situations in Ukraine through active participation.
The focus of the 2014 camp, held July 11-24, is dialogue and reconciliation. Children whose families fled occupied Crimea will live together and communicate with their peers from various regions of Ukraine. Special attention will be given to strengthening skills of media literacy and counteracting media manipulation, and each day of the camp is dedicated to celebrating a different culture or ethnicity.
For their application to the program, students had the option of making an illustration about a testimony clip from Where Do Human Rights Begin: Lessons of History and Contemporary Approaches, the testimony-based Ukrainian-language teacher’s guide published on the USC Shoah Foundation website. The guide consists of 10 modules highlighting the rights guaranteed by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as human rights violations of the 20th century and recent cases. Each module includes clips of Holocaust survivor testimony from the Visual History Archive.
Students were asked to watch the clips from Lesson 10, “Rights of the Child,” and create an illustration or cartoon about the testimony that most affected them. The 15 illustrations submitted to the contest were inspired by survivors including Leonid Lerner, Fedora Rigas, and Adel’ Zagurskaia, who describe acts of discrimination and violence they experienced as children. The artists come from a diverse range of backgrounds, from a member of the Ukrainian Greek community to the son of a human rights activist whose family was forced to flee their home.
Applicants could also choose to make a video of themselves singing or playing a cultural song on a musical instrument, write an essay about a public monument for peace and reconciliation, or create a written or artistic response to a short animated film about remembering history.
The applications will be judged by a panel including Anna Lenchovska, USC Shoah Foundation’s regional consultant in Ukraine. Out of 104 applicants, 85 will be selected to attend the camp (an additional 35 participants are currently displaced and follow different application procedures).
Sources of Tolerance was developed in 2002 by the Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine.