Holocaust Education Goes Hi-Tech

Stockton College's interactive television trains area educators how to teach the Holocaust.
Rob Huberman
September 20, 2000
Jewish Times Staff

Front and rear wall-mounted televisions cameras that automatically zoom to a speaker's location. A bank of color television monitors where one would normally expect a blackboard. A podium that looks like the control panel for a high tech surveillance system. Dozens of panelists watching a lecture and seeing and talking to each other - from five locations around Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Sound like the classroom of the future?

Well it is, and it is here today - at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. The school's hi-tech facility hosted the first in a series of free workshops promoted as "The World Comes To Your Doorstep - Experience the Possibilities of Distance Learning." The topic of discussion, "Holocaust Education Across the Curriculum," was sponsored by the Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton College. The purpose of the workshop was to assist area teachers in grades 5 to 12 in implementing the NJ Holocaust /Genocide mandate across the curriculum.

It is believed to be the nation's first interactive television course on Holocaust education, according to Holocaust Resource Center Director Gail Rosenthal. "Big ideas start small," Rosenthal told the participants, adding that they would experience a "buffet" of ideas and topics.

According to Rosenthal, nearly 100 teachers and educators participated in the teachers workshop that was telecast from its primary site at Stockton to secondary sites in both Linwood and Cape May County.

The hour and forty-five minute workshop was presented by faculty and staff associated with the Holocaust Resource Center and included Dr. Michael Hayes, Dr. Leo Lieberman, and Dr. Chris Long.

"Holocaust education is a different topic to confront because it stirs up emotions," said Dr. Hayes. In his presentation on 'Deception, Terror, and Resistance' he explained that early in the Nazi's rise to power, "No one protested at getting rid of the Jews at the universities. Those who could have just stood by."

Dr. Lieberman discussed the use of film and literature in the classroom to present the topic of film and literature in the classroom to present the topic of 'Resisting Evil'.

"One of the most asked questions," he told the group, "is "Why didn't the Jews resist?' What we are now discovering is that there was indeed more resistance than we had ever realized."

"Thought Control: Art in the Nazi Era" was the focus of Dr. Long's presentation. He contrasted a series of 'genuine German art' artwork portraying the 'perfect' idea of Nazi culture and used to popularize and propagate Nazi political views, with the 'negative' images the Nazis sought to replace. "They knew they had to gain control of the culture chamber - dedications of film , art, and literature - and began replacing 'art criticism' with 'art reporting.'"

Gail Rosenthal best summed up the workshop in saying, "Holocaust education is not like math and science. The more we know about it , the more we realize we don't know ."

The workshops are sponsored by the Atlantic County Education Training Center (ETTC) and are free to all educators. More information can be obtained by calling the ETTC Office at Stockton at 609-652-4931.