Teachers Head to Auschwitz for 70th Anniversary of the Camp’s Liberation

By Liana Loewus — January 28, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where about 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were put to death during the Holocaust.

In commemoration, 25 teachers from across the U.S. and 10 other countries spent four days traveling through Poland, visiting museums and historical sites in Warsaw, Krakow, and Oswiecim. On Jan. 27, the teachers joined 3,000 people, including about 300 Holocaust survivors, for a ceremony at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

As the New York Times reports, about 1,500 Holocaust survivors attended the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation in 2005. The remaining survivors are in their 90s and some are older than 100, so this may be the last major anniversary with more than a handful of survivors present.

The teachers were part of a professional-development program hosted by Discovery Education and the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation. While touring, the educators learned to use the Shoah Foundation’s IWitness collection, an online instructional resource with 1,300 testimonies and multimedia activities related to the Holocaust. They also attended a reception with Steven Spielberg, who directed the 1993 Holocaust film “Schindler’s List.”

Jeannie Woods, a 7th and 8th grade language arts teacher from Fort Payne, Ala., who participated in the program, said in a phone interview from Poland that the trip helped illuminate for her the long history leading up to the Holocaust. “Coming to an authentic site and getting to experience the culture and visit museums that explore the history of that culture over hundreds of years, where[as] sometimes we start our Holocaust education with the Holocaust—that’s just really broadened my perspective on how the Holocaust fits into history,” she said.

As I wrote last month, some teachers are finding nontraditional ways to explore the Holocaust with their students. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which runs professional-development programs for preservice and practicing teachers, currently has an exhibit dedicated to looking at onlookers’ motivations—why some European citizens helped the Jews, some harmed them, and some looked away.

Holocaust survivor Igor Malitsky of Ukraine walks outside the gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on Tuesday. Some 300 Holocaust survivors traveled to Auschwitz for the 70th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation by the Soviet Red Army in 1945, down from 1,500 who attended the event 10 years ago.—Alik Keplicz/AP

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum He Taught About White Privilege and Got Fired. Now He's Fighting to Get His Job Back
Matthew Hawn is an early casualty in this year's fight over how teachers can discuss with students America's struggle with racism.
13 min read
Social studies teacher Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for sharing Kyla Jenèe Lacey's, 'White Privilege', poem with his Contemporary Issues class. Hawn sits on his couch inside his home on August 17, 2021.
Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for lessons and materials he used to teach about racism and white privilege in his Contemporary Issues class at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn.<br/>
Caitlin Penna for Education Week
Curriculum What's the Best Way to Address Unfinished Learning? It's Not Remediation, Study Says
A new study suggests acceleration may be a promising strategy for addressing unfinished learning in math after a pandemic year.
5 min read
Female high school student running on the stairs leads to an opportunity to success
CreativaImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Curriculum School Halts Use of Fictional Book in Which Officer Kills a Black Child
Fifth graders in at least one Broward County school were assigned to read a book that critics say casts police officers as racist liars.
Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5 min read
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alhadeff told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she does not feel like the book "Ghost Boys" is appropriate for 5th graders.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Curriculum Opinion Introducing Primary Sources to Students
Five educators share strategies for introducing primary sources to students, including English-language learners.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."