Walking Witness: Civic Responsibility in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad trip for educators

The Walking Witness trip will follow the wartime life experiences of four Toledo-area Holocaust survivors, whose testimonies were included in the WGTE Toledo Stories film, Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors. Coupled with the Walking Witness Summer Institute, hosted by Bowling Green State University, the trip will empower educators to create effective curriculum for the subject area in their language arts' and social studies' classrooms. We are also looking for experienced media teachers to help document the experience. This four-week trip will include Poland, Hungary, and Greece respectively.

This program is funded by a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Program grant, U.S. Department of Education. www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/index.html

Teachers (grades 6-12) and Higher Ed Media Instructors Apply Here.

Prior to departure, Walking Witness participants will enroll in the Bearing Witness Summer Institute at Bowling Green State University (June 9-13 online, June 15-20, 2014 on BGSU's main campus) to prepare for the trip to East Central Europe. This immersive workshop covers the history of the Holocaust, with a focus on six Toledo-area survivors, as well as instruction in media documentation tools and curriculum development. (Information on the Bearing Witness Summer Institute will be posted here soon.)

Tenative Itinerary
Our in-country experience begins in Warsaw with visits to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. From Warsaw, we move on to three days in Lodz and its surrounding area including the birth places of two survivors, Aron Wajskol and Philip Markowicz, and the area of the Lodz ghetto where these survivors were inprisoned. We then move onto Krakow for nine days to meet colleagues at Jagieollonian University, interacting with the Polish community in Krakow and visiting relevant historic sites and archives such as Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, and the Komplex Riese, where our survivors were kept. Next travelers will venture to Hungary. Here we will visit Budapest (three days), doing research in the Jewish Museum and Archives of Hungary and visiting the Dohany Street Synagogue, as well as interacting with scholars at the University of Jewish Studies, one of the oldest in the world and last existing institution in the Eastern bloc where Rabbis are ordained. We then spend three days in Pecs, the hometown of survivor Clara Rona and the University of Pecs, where we will meet with faculty members to discuss contemporary issues of discrimination and social-cultural inequities in Hungary. The team will then travel to Greece where they will spend seven days. In Greece we will begin in Athens, meeting up with our Greek in-country coordinator, Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, Museum Director of Kehila Kedosha Janina, who will connect us with the Jewish communities in Athens, Larissa, Trikala (birthplace of survivor Al Negrin), and Salonika. She will also give us opportunities for interaction with the local people and a solid background in the complicated history of Greece in the Holocaust.

Media Professionals
In addition to social studies teachers, we are also looking for film/video instructors to participate in Walking Witness. Participants will be documenting the entire trip, performing interviews with local people, and exploring historical sites through video, audio, and photography. These documents will be used in future digital curriculum projects and possible films. Skills needed include: documentary interview strategies (pre-production and production), solid video/film skills, run-and-gun readiness, audio, photography, and other digital skills. In the application, please submit samples that demonstrate the above skills, and discuss more generally why you think the project is important.

Upon Return
During academic year 2014-15, Walking Witness team members will participate in follow up meetings and will be responsible for contributing to the creation of curriculum on the Holocaust and our civic responsibilities in an age of cultural misconceptions, prejudice, and genocide.

Qualifications of Applicants
Full time in-service teachers, grades 6-12, in language arts and social studies as well as media are qualified to apply for a spot on this trip. Full-time higher education instructors are also eligible. The tour will begin on Tuesday June 24, 2014 and travelers will return home to Detroit on Wednesday July 23, 2014. Applicants must be willing to participate fully in the Bearing Witness Summer Institute, the Walking Witness European Tour, and the post-debrief and curriculum development meetings. Only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents may apply.

Participants of the Walking Witness Fulbright-Hays project will have out-of-country travel costs covered by the grant (air travel, lodging, per diem). Enrollment in the Bearing Witness Summer Institute at BGSU is required. Participants will take this as a university graduate course, with reduced fee, thus earning college credit/CEUs.

Link to online application form.

Download the information flyer.

Any questions? Please email us at: WalkingWitness2014@gmail.com

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