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“Between Destruction and Liberation, as Portrayed in Films”: A Ghetto Fighters’ House course in collaboration with Yad Vashem

The Ghetto Fighters’ House has for many years been offering courses in collaboration with Yad Vashem. In the last three years, these have incorporated viewing films.Every session consists of a lecture and screening of a full-length documentary or feature film. 

This year we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The subjects covered by Continuing Education courses have included: how Jews coped during the Holocaust; the fate of the Jews during the last year of the war; and the process of the survivors’ returning to life and their contribution to building the State of Israel.

A special session in the course was devoted to resistance in the extermination camps. The guest of honor was Samuel Willenberg who was one of 200 inmates who succeeded in escaping from the Treblinka extermination camp in the revolt on August 2, 1943. Today Willenberg is sole survivor of the 70 escapees alive at the end of the Holocaust. Haim Megira, a senior guide from the GFH education staff, gave a historical review of the topic. This was followed by a screening of the film “Samuel” by director Jan Kidawa-Blonski, made in Poland in 2014, which recounts Willenberg’s life story along with with his personal testimony. The session concluded with a visit to the museum's art gallery where the exhibition “Samuel Willenberg – The Last Witness from Treblinka” is now on display.  A moving and important discussion ensued between Willenberg and his wife Ada and the 70 participants in the course. This meeting was a rare opportunity for the participants to meet Willenberg in person, to hear his testimony and encounter him also through his sculptures and drawings.


In center:  Samuel Willenberg speaks
in the art gallery where his sculptures and
drawings are on display


Thanks to the successful collaboration between the educational staff of the Ghetto Fighters’ House and the educational staff of Yad Vashem, the course participants were exposed to new, wide-ranging materials in the field of Holocaust education. At the end of the spring session, course participants took part in “Between Sirens” – an event devoted to the liberation, held at GFH on April 20 – and in the national-level teachers’ conference, to be held at Yad Vashem on July 1-2 and which will be devoted to the same subject.



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