Branko Lustig on the Educational morning in Zagreb intended for the elementary school pupils (May 24th, 2012)
Johann Chapoutot's lecture on the Educational morning in Zagreb on May 21st, 2012
Today we are witnesses to an increasing rate of violence among the youth, as well as discrimination and social injustice, primarily among children and toward individuals of different ethnicities, religion or race. Having also in mind the recent increasing popularity of far-right ideologies and the absence of an outer-institutional platform for learning about the Holocaust and injustices of Nazi regimes, the organizer of the Festival has introduced this program with an aim to educate as many people as possible on the subject, and speak out about Nazi regimes in a multimedia and multidisciplinary manner, as well as to entice dialogue and cooperation between cultural, educational and state institutions.
After realizing the significance of paying particular attention to young people as the most vital segment in the development of a democratic society, in 2009 the Festival initiated Educational mornings as one of its most important integral parts. Educational mornings are an educational program which aims to educate children of all ages about the atrocities of the Holocaust in order to help them learn as much as possible, from this tragic period of history, about accepting diversity and treating each human being as an individual worthy of respect. It is precisely the model of educating the youngest that stimulates the development of understanding and tolerance, which are certainly the fundamental principles for the functioning of a healthy socialization. Educational mornings provide an educational experience through which pupils and students get the opportunity to grasp which events lead to the Holocaust. They enable them insight into numerous historical, social, religious, political and economic factors which cumulatively resulted in the occurrence of the Holocaust.
The history of the Holocaust represents an extremely efficient area to re-examine basic moral issues. Through studying the Holocaust, pupils and students can understand the weight of the need to nurture and protect democratic values, as well as to understand the significance of tolerance. Students can realize how silence and indifference toward the suffering of others can cause the grave injustices from the past to repeat. Through discussion and an exchange of opinions, young people are able to appreciate that accepting diversity and respecting the different are the only right ways to go through life in our modern world.
Since 2009, Educational Mornings attracted over 5,500 pupils and students from 186 elementary schools, high schools, and universities from across the country; something which no other Croatian institution working on educating the public on the Holocaust has accomplished.
Through the introduction of film as a platform for educating about the Holocaust, and by choosing feature or documentary films of high artistic and educational value for each new Festival edition, young people are given an opportunity to expand their knowledge about the Holocaust through a medium to which they can relate. This also opens up a platform for discussion which, after lectures, motivates students and pupils to think. During the discussions, they come to realize that until then they knew little or nothing about the Holocaust and that the films and lectures helped them gain a completely different perspective.