«Jewish Observer»
March 2002
5762 Adar

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It was the name of the International Conference that was held by All-Ukraine Charitable Fund "Research and Educational Center of Jewish History and Culture "Tkuma" together with "Joint" and other organizations. The international spirit of the conference was established by participation of specialists from Russia, Israel, Great Britain, Poland and Holland. The organizers of the forum provided the integrated approach for studying the problems of the Holocaust. They reviewed the issues concerning the history of Jews in Ukraine before and after WWII. The special attention was drawn to the philosophic, ethic, psychological aspects of the Holocaust that reflect the tragedy in literature and arts as well as in the pedagogical practice. There were panel discussions, where the approaches and standards of understanding the tragedy were determined, while the main aspects of the problem were discussed at plenary sessions. The reports ranged from simple argumentation on the moral basis of ethnic, conflict to in-depth analysis of methodology and methods of perception of the Holocaust problems, as well as the peculiarities of the tragedy in Russia and Belarus, etc.

The attitude of Orthodox surprised everybody. They asserted that the genocide of Jews was implemented by God's will to punish the Abraham's descendents for deviation from the Torah principals!

The speeches of some conference participants proved that they were not eager to perceive the core of the problem. They haven't even studied "The Catastrophe of the European Jews" - that is the most available course of the Open University of Israel. Unwillingness to study seven volumes of the course, to great regret, is the typical mistake for many teachers of the Holocaust problems in different educational institutions.

The consideration of Nazi genocide in Ukraine ignoring the historical context was another common mistake of the participants. The Holocaust tragedy itself was represented by archival documents, researches attestations, poetry, folk songs in Yiddish, press publications, documentary and feature films. Boris Zabarko's speech about reminiscences of those, who survived the Catastrophe aroused a special interest in public. There were materials dedicated to Ann Frank by Norbert Heinterleitner (Amsterdam), Irit Abramski's work about educational programs of Yad Vashem Institute and from Aron Wais (Israel) recollecting about Ukraine-Jewish relations during the war.

The teachers of the Holocaust discussed the problems connected with the separation of the Jewish tragedy from the disasters of other nations living on the Ukrainian territory. As a result, of great importance is the process of immortalizing the tragedy victims. The Cabinet of Ministers, deputies, educational and scientific establishments have already supported this idea. Now, the tragedies of pogroms and the Holocaust can be studied together with problems connected with the deportation of Ukrainians, Germans, Crimean Tatars, Poles and other nations.

Such teaching can become the constituent of educational processes in schools and institutes of higher education. The erection of monuments at the places of the tragedies, anniversary mourning ceremonies, researches and publications will be of great educational significance.

Unfortunately, the tragedies of Jews didn't finished after the war. A new anti-Jewish round broke out in the country after Mikhael's murder. Stalin administration launched it by persecuting "homeless cosmopolites", repressive measures against the members of the Jewish anti-fascist committee and "doctor's case". In spite of the failure of the last one, the Jewish culture in the USSR was practically prohibited. At the same time, the term Holocaust was proclaimed to be Zionist, as the term implied to the existence of the international Jewish community, the presence of which was vigorously rejected by the CPSU ideologists. It was hardly mentioned at the conference, though there is less than half a year left till the mournful anniversary - fifty years since the shooting of the JAC members. The Donetsk conference initiated the complex consideration of the Holocaust. The problems connected with this tragedy require more deep and comprehensive study from researchers and teachers.


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