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First Bi-National Memorial Library Seminar

memorial library seminar kleinin our school

From March 16 -21 2016 18 teachers from Austria and the United States spent some overwhelming days together in Innsbruck to discuss and debate over Holocaust studies and most of all share our narratives about the past with each other.

It is one quote  - out of many things we have been talking about and working on - of a text by Volkhard Knigge we discussed and debated which shows what made us share our stories: "...the examination of the NS (National Socialist) past means developing an awareness of the radical fact that the good (as exemplified by freedom, solidarity, tolerance, human dignity, human rights, and democracy) does not come natural."* We ended up talking about choices, freedom, opportunity and responsibility. We must stand for and model the good we can do. This is our responsibility as human beings: we must advocate for love and justice. And this is our responsibility as teachers, because those who can, teach …
We have struggled all week with the atrocities of the Holocaust and touched upon the most powerful of questions: How can a human being be capable of such evil? or What would I have done? All this challenging work could be done in a community of likeminded people under the caring leadership of Dr. Sondra Perl and Michael Franke. Besides all the interesting discussions and input we also had the time to make friends and become a community of teachers who would also like to foster an Austro-American dialogue between their students. For the Austrian teachers the seminar was the best possible way to spend a part of their Easter break and we deeply felt kinship for our US American colleagues who were back in their classrooms only some hours after saying goodbye. Thank you for your openness and respect Cara, Jeff, John, Judy and Paula. (Nadine Ulseß-Schurda, 27. April 2014)
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* Thank you Cara for focusing on this quote and stressing its meaning and importance for us.

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