The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) selected Palm Beach County educators Maureen Carter of the School District of Palm Beach County and Carolina Simon of Loggers Run Middle School to join a select group of 12 middle and high school teachers and Holocaust center personnel from six states to participate in its 2018 European Study Program in Germany and the Netherlands from July 8 through July 16. Through lectures and visits to authentic Holocaust sites, these educators gained a deeper understanding of the complex and tragic history of the Holocaust.
The program is a high-level, intensive and immersive educational experience that includes visits to concentration camps, ghetto sites and Holocaust memorials. Noted historian Peter Hayes, one of the world’s leading experts on the Holocaust, served as the accompanying scholar for the 2018 European Study Program.
The trip began with the group traveling to Frankfurt, where they explored the pre-war history followed by the destruction of the city’s Jews. Following their excursions within the city, the group traveled to Speyer and Worms, and then on to Buchenwald, Weimar, Dora-Mittelbau, Celle, Bergen-Belsen, Bremen and Westerbork. The trip culminated in Amsterdam, where the group spent part of their trip fully immersing themselves in the city’s Jewish history: pre-war, during the Holocaust and afterward. On the last day of the trip, participants had an opportunity to review and reflect on what they learned during the trip, and how to bring those lessons into their classrooms.
Teachers selected for the program are English or social studies teachers at the middle or high school level, who have taught for at least five years, are at least four years from retirement, and currently teach the Holocaust in their classrooms. They must also be Alfred Lerner Fellows and have completed the JFR’s Summer Institute for Teachers at Columbia University.
“Maureen and Carolina are two phenomenal teachers when it comes to their passion for teaching the history of the Holocaust in their area. As we continue to move further away from the Holocaust, it is more important to teach this period in history to the next generation, and by focusing our efforts on helping teachers actually see and experience the places where these complex events occurred, we believe it enhances their understanding and enables them to be more effective instructors in their classrooms,” JFR Executive Vice President Stanlee Stahl said.
The JFR continues its work of providing monthly financial assistance to some 350 aged and needy Righteous Gentiles living in 20 countries. Since its founding, the JFR has provided more than $39 million to aged and needy rescuers, helping to repay a debt of gratitude on behalf of the Jewish people to these noble men and women. Its Holocaust teacher education program has become a standard for teaching the history of the Holocaust and educating teachers and students about the significance of the Righteous Gentiles as moral and ethical exemplars. For more information, visit www.jfr.org.