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Teacher training brings Holocaust education expert from Yad Vashem to Buffalo

Courtesy of Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo.

The Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo will host a free teacher training Wednesday featuring an expert from Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

The workshop aims to empower local educators to tackle the tough questions students often have about the Holocaust. That’s something new Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo Director Elizabeth Schram learned first-hand as a teacher in Austin, Texas.

“There just seemed to be a lot of conflict most days and I didn’t see a lot of empathy, but when I would teach these social justice issues and when I was teaching the Holocaust these students connected to these Holocaust survivors’ stories,” Schram told WBFO.

Schram, who is Jewish, was so moved by the experience of learning alongside her students who had never heard of the Holocaust before that she ended up completing a master’s degree in Holocaust studies in Israel. She interned at two of the world’s most prominent Holocaust museums—Yad Vashem in Israel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.—and in April, she took the reins as director of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo.

Credit Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Elizabeth Schram.
Elizabeth Schram is the new director of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo.

“It’s a lot of pressure to continue Holocaust education in such times of hatred and times where the survivors are passing away each day,” Schram said. “I guess I have that passion and motivation to continue this on. And I’ve heard what Yad Vashem, how they’re handling this and how the museum in D.C. [is preparing] for next steps once our survivors pass away, so I think that’s what I’m really bringing from my experiences there.”

For Wednesday’s teaching training, Schram is also bringing Liz Elsby, a colleague from the education division at Yad Vashem, to work with local teachers and professors.

Schram said the training will be geared toward high school English and history teachers, and that it will discuss specific lesson plans, multimedia and digital resources, and the history of antisemitism. As of Tuesday, about 45 educators were registered to participate, and Schram said there was still room for more.

The training will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Audubon Branch in Amherst.

Kyle Mackie is a multimedia journalist with reporting experience in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Western Balkans and New York City. She joined WBFO to cover education and more in June 2019.
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