Biannual Conference on Teaching Holocaust Studies in Murfreesboro


After a nearly four-year hiatus due to COVID-related international travel restrictions, Middle Tennessee State University will once again host its biannual Holocaust Studies Teaching Conference.

Scheduled for Thursday, July 14, Holocaust Education Day will take place in Murfreesboro at MTSU. The theme for this year’s internationally acclaimed event will be Learning from the Holocaust and will feature both in-person and virtual activities.

The morning virtual session will be led by Dr. David Deutsch of the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem. Says Deutsch, “The center tour provides insight into the history of the Holocaust as well as a strong focus on the individual stories and experiences of Jewish victims.

“The museum tour begins with Jewish life before WWII and ends by addressing the issue of depicting the Holocaust and preserving memory.”

Jeff Gernsheimer will be present at the conference and will share his family’s story during and after the Holocaust. The story of her family’s escape from Nazi Germany was detailed in the great 1967 film, “Voyage of the Damned”, starring Faye Dunaway, Oskar Werner, Max von Sydow and James Mason.

During the afternoon sessions, Sara Granitza, also of Yad Vashem, and director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, will collaborate with MTSU faculty, Rutherford County teachers, teaching fellows from Tennessee Holocaust and other participants to learn how to integrate Holocaust studies into various program activities.

Additionally, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission exhibit, “Living On” will be on display. The exhibit’s featured speaker will be Ken Gluck, education coordinator for the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. Gluck’s father was one of nine children born in Hungary, six of whom survived the Holocaust.

Dr. Noa Mkayton, Director of International Education and Training for Yad Vashem, will speak virtually at the conference. Mkayton helps develop interdisciplinary study materials for teachers and students in nearly 20 European languages.

The afternoon program will also include presentations by so-called “second generation” members, who will share stories of their relatives who survived the Holocaust and found refuge in the United States during and after. the Second World War.

The event will provide professional development credits for teachers. All activities will take place in the College of Education building on the east side of the MTSU campus. The program is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


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