The Holocaust as a Starting Point – seminar for teachers from Greece, Croatia, Portugal, North Macedonia and Spain about the history of Sephardic Jews

The Holocaust as a Starting Point is a program developed by the Mémorial de la Shoah (France) in 2015, which focuses on the regional-level seminars for primary and secondary school teachers coming from countries that have challenging and conflicting memories.

In  Lisbon, from 28th to 30th April 2023 Memorial de la Shoah organised a seminar in cooperation with partner institutions from the participating countries: the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece, Education and Teacher Training Agency (ETTA-AZOO) from Croatia, Memoshoah from Portugal, Holocaust Fund of the Jews from North Macedonia, and the Department of Education and Democratic Memorial of the Government of Catalonia.

The seminar gathered 50 primary and secondary school teachers from the participating countries to take part in lectures dedicated to the history of Sephardic Jews, from the expulsion from Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century to their contribution to the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Director of ETTA, Dubravka Brezak Stamać, PhD, has pointed out in her opening address that for 20 years ETTA has successfully been organising national and international training events for teachers on teaching and learning about the Holocaust. In the year of Croatia’s chairmanship of IHRA, ETTA continues to improve the quality of teaching and learning about the Holocaust, and to widen opportunities for Croatian teachers to take part in international training events related to Holocaust education.

The lectures and workshops enabled the teachers to trace the history of Sephardic Jews, from their expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula, and forceful baptism, through settlement in the Ottoman Empire, to the development and thriving of Jewish communities in the territories of present Croatia, N. Macedonia and Greece until WWII.

ETTA Senior Advisers, Loranda Miletić and Renata Ozorlić Dominić organised a workshop titled Multiperspectivity – Learning about Common History from Diverse Perspectives, in which the participants analysed and compared sources from five participating countries, drawing conclusion about the causes of the expulsion of Jews, their status and contributions to social development in the places where they settled.

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