Prague and Terezin (Czech Republic), 24-25 April 2006

National delegations attended this ministerial seminar at two venues, Prague and Terezin. The seminar examined how music and art can complement history in the teaching of remembrance in schools.

The two-day event brought together Education Ministers from the 48 countries that have signed the European Cultural Convention, and was opened in Terezín, at the Museum dedicated to the victims of the city’s Jewish ghetto. The opening ceremony included speeches by Council of Europe Director General for Education, Cultural Heritage, Youth and Sport, Gabriella Battaini, and the Czech Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Petra Buzkova. Participants later heard testimony from survivors of the ghetto, and a symbolic wreath was to be laid in the town’s main cemetery.

The second day of the seminar took place in the Patriotic Hall (Carolinum) of the Prague’s Charles University, and included a keynote speech by the former Czech President, Professor Vaclav Havel. This was followed by a round table discussion on a “Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and Education for the prevention of crimes against humanity” in schools of the 48 countries that have signed the European Cultural Convention.

The discovery of drawings made by children and of plays and concerts performed in Terezin during the Holocaust and a presentation of the educational activities proposed by the Terezin Education Centre served to emphasise the importance of a multidisciplinary approach (lessons in visual arts, music etc) to teaching about the Holocaust. An overview highlighted two approaches to teaching about the Holocaust: a “historical” approach in the strict sense and a second, broader approach based on education for democratic citizenship. The contacts between ministries and the Council of Europe on this occasion resulted once again in some concrete proposals for co-operation.