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AUG 4, 2011

CSULB workshop for teachers features talks by survivors, L.A. museum visit (presstelegram.com)

Holocaust Studies: CSULB workshop for teachers features talks by survivors, L.A. museum visit    By Kelly Puente, Staff Writer


LONG BEACH - When it comes to teaching sensitive subjects like the Holocaust, Cal State Long Beach professor Jeff Blutinger says it's important for teachers to have the right training.

"Most teachers have little to no training on how to teach the Holocaust. Their knowledge may be limited to whatever movies they've seen or whatever world history textbook they read at university," he said.

"It's important to teach it properly given the enormous campaign of misinformation out there. It's a subject that is of great interest to students."

For the second year in a row, Blutinger, an associate professor of history, is holding a free workshop at Cal State Long Beach with the goal of training local teachers in age-appropriate ways to teach students about the Nazi genocide. Holocaust education is a state standard that is usually taught in the 10th and 11th grades.

The weeklong intensive-training course, which begins Monday, features talks from Holocaust survivors, lectures and a visit to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Teachers receive a $100 stipend and up to two units of service credit.

While this year's class is full, Blutinger said he hopes to expand the program next year and is raising funds to make the workshops a permanent fixture on campus. He said the idea for the workshop came from local Holocaust survivor Gerda Seifer, who approached the CSULB Jewish Studies Program in 2009 with the initial donation.

Blutinger plans to have a different theme each year. Last year's theme was "Children in the Holocaust," and this year's workshop will focus on "Art and the Holocaust."

The first half of the course will explore how the Nazis used artwork as propaganda. Blutinger said he plans to show part of a film called "The Eternal Jew," an anti-Semitic film that was shown in movie theaters in Berlin and played for Nazi troops before they would carry out massacres.

"The film itself became part of the murder process, a piece of art actually used to help kill people," he explained.

The second half of the course will explore how artwork was used by prisoners in concentration camps as a way to renew hope and reveal the truth about horrors they were experiencing.

Blutinger said he has received positive feedback from teachers who say the class has given them a deeper knowledge of the subject. Studying the Holocaust is important not only for learning about our history, he said, but also for our present and future.

"Holocaust education gives teachers tools to grapple with the subject in its complexity and use it to illustrate a variety of issues beyond what the Nazis did in World War II," he said.

For information on the workshop, call Blutinger at 562- 985-2196.

See more at presstelegram.com