Holocaust Education in Times of Russia’s War on Ukraine

Roundtable Discussion via Zoom

The war in Europe impacted Holocaust education and research in Ukraine related to the fact that survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust were forced to save their lives by fleeing the combat zones, and some of them died in suffering, like Wanda Obiedkova, a survivor of the Holocaust, who lost her life in April 2022, during the siege of Mariupol. War revitalized their traumatic memories of WWII, making interaction with them more challenging and ethically problematic. At the same time, Russian aggression destroys and harms not only the living memory of the Holocaust in Ukraine but also places of memory, like Babyn Yar in Kyiv, Drobytskyj Yar in Kharkiv, Jewish cemeteries, and synagogues.

Apart from that, Holocaust educators witnessed the weaponization of the history of WWII and the Holocaust by Putin’s regime to justify its brutal aggression against Ukraine. Kremlin top politicians and propagandists make inadequate parallels between the stance of Jews during the Holocaust and Russian people during Russia’s war in Ukraine, trying to create the narrative of victimhood. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities are using the history and memory of WWII for national mobilization in times of existential threat.

The roundtable is focused on challenges for Holocaust educators in Ukraine, Europe and worldwide posed by the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine. It will discuss strategies for dealing with the distortion of history, and analyses the terminology applied to justify the aggression. Another emphasis will be placed on the question of comparisons, i.e. WWII and today, the role of Ukrainian history in teaching the Holocaust and how educators adjust their activities in times of war.

Roundtable Discussion with Anja Ballis (Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany), Zélie Daull (Memorial de la Shoah, France), Gabriella Komoly (Zachor Foundation for Social Remembrance, Hungary), Patrick Siegele (erinnern.at, Austria).  Opening: Andrea Löw (Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz  Institute for Contemporary History, Germany), Greetings: Oleksyh Makukhin (Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, Ukraine), Introduction: Marta Havryshko (Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, Ukraine), Closing remarks: Andrea Pető (Central European University, Austria)

For participation, please register by sending an email to zfhs[at]ifz-muenchen.de. You will receive a Zoom-Link before the event.

Organized by Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, East European Holocaust Studies Journal in cooperation with IfZ, Center for Holocaust Studies, Munich and supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
The edited transcript will be published in English in the East European Holocaust Studies Journal. A German translation will be available on bpb.de, and a Ukrainian version will be published in Ukraina Moderna.


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