Virtual workshop student reflects on their Holocaust education

Holocaust education goes online

Virtual workshops joined the offerings of our award-winning Holocaust education programs in early 2020 when, despite the pandemic’s many challenges, teaching the Holocaust and connecting students with survivors remained a priority.

Initially a temporary supportive measure for the COVID landscape, the virtual workshops have become an ongoing fixture in our education programming. Using technology to connect with students offers the exciting potential to extend our reach and impact beyond our museum walls. 

Over the last two years, students joining virtual workshops experience a guided tour of the virtual museum, with its many Holocaust-related artefacts, and participate in a Q&A with a survivor from our museum community. 

“Whilst unable to be with these students face-to-face,” said MHM educator Soo Isaacs, “I see them become more immersed in the program as the session progress[es]”.  

Our virtual workshop around Australia

With learning tailored for an online environment, the virtual workshops increase our accessibility: some schools that might have previously experienced geographical or financial barriers to reach our physical site can now connect with us online

The virtual workshop provided students from the Northern Territory School of Distance Education with the opportunity to engage with the MHM and survivor Paul Grinwald in late 2020, as profiled by the ABC and the Age.

St Phillips Christian College in Newcastle also participated in a virtual workshop in 2021. Student Xanthe remembers it as “one of the highlights of Year 6.” Following the workshop, she created a video with reflections on her experience of the MHM’s virtual workshop and meeting Paul Grinwald, which won an award at the 2021 National History Challenge (NHC).

“At first, I never really considered the broader consequences caused by this event in history,” said Xanthe. “After meeting Paul Grinwald, he left me one unforgettable message: we humans, no matter our nationality, beliefs or colour, all belong to one race and rather than persecute each other, should live at peace with one another.”

The lasting impact of meeting a Holocaust survivor

The 10-year-old student also reached out to Paul Grinwald via our Survivor Connect program, an online resource allowing students and the community to write letters to Holocaust survivors. Read an extract of Xanthe’s letter below:

Dear Paul,

Learning all about the Holocaust has taught me that we should never let racism happen again. We should always accept people for who they are. Ever since I have heard some of the kind words you said, I have been trying to be more like you. Thank you so much for your intriguing talk. It was a great educational and heartfelt. It is such a ginormous privilege that we get to talk to such a special and knowledgeable person like you. We realise how hard it must have been for you to talk about your life journey and appreciate all the time and effort you have put into being with us.

From Xanthe. 

Year 6 student Xanthe at the National History Challenge following a virtual workshop with the MHM
Year 6 student Xanthe at the National History Challenge following a virtual workshop with the MHM

Explore our virtual Holocaust education resources

Educators can learn more about our virtual workshops here or by contacting the MHM education team at education@jhc.org.au. We also welcome you to connect with our range of free virtual learning experiences and register for more teaching worksheets, lesson plans, guides and other materials.

survivor Paul Grinwald during a Holocaust education virtual workshop
Holocaust survivor Paul Grinwald during a virtual workshop