Robert Welker, associate professor of education, leaves Sunday, Nov. 8 for Lubeck, just north of Hamburg where the Center is located. He will be a part of two panel discussions at a conference at the Research and Study Center for Holocaust Education, the first of its kind in Germany, which opened in May.
Welker will join others in discussing how to teach the Holocaust to students in colleges and schools throughout the world.
"The study of the Holocaust can capture the imagination and attention of students who otherwise find historical study irrelevant and uninteresting," Welker said. "Teachers also find in Holocaust study the opportunity to introduce aspects of moral and civic education in ways that seem direct, warranted and appropriate."
Welker, who teaches courses in the philosophy and sociology of education, curriculum, and topics in educational methodology, said that the Holocaust also affords a way to teach across academic disciplines.
"Holocaust curriculum can provide more focus to general history, literature or art courses and provides an opportunity to make use of an array of materials drawn from the different disciplines."
He warned, though, that many teachers, due to the complexity of what the Holocaust represented, might be tempted to "gloss over" issues and sources.
"It may become easy for unguided students to conceive of art, cinema and literature as holding the same documentary weight as primary source documents, diaries or other historical accounts," he said.
Kristallnacht occurred on Nov. 9, 1938 when Hitler's "Brownshirts" were given license throughout Germany and Austria to terrorize Jewish store owners and synagogues by breaking windows and arresting Jewish men. Eventually, more than six million Jews and their collaborators were exterminated by the Nazi regime in Europe.
By 1945, two out of every three European Jews had been killed during the Holocaust. In addition, those considered "unfit" by the Nazis were also killed, including Gypsies, mentally and physically handicapped persons and even homosexuals.
Wittenberg, a private liberal arts college related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has long been a leader in attempting to communicate the horrors of the Holocaust.
Rochelle L. Millen, associate professor of religion, is a leading academic expert on the Holocaust, Jewish tradition, anti-semitism, Judaism in the modern world and women and religion.
In 1993 Millen chaired a Wittenberg-sponsored international conference on teaching the Holocaust, which included among its participants Matthias Heyl, now director of Germany's Research and Study Center for Holocaust Education.
Welker, a Columbus resident, earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University. He joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1987.
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