Spanish River High School Teacher to Attend Holocaust Seminar
By Tiye Barnes
Bettina Hoffman, an English teacher at Spanish River Community High School, has been chosen to participate in the 2014 Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program, a three-week summer seminar in Washington D.C., Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
The highly selective program, from July 1-19, is designed for secondary school teachers who implement Holocaust studies in their classes.
Hoffman, who has a doctorate, is among 30 secondary school teachers throughout the United States who were selected. They will visit historic sites and hear stories from survivors of the Holocaust and prominent scholars.
Hoffman could not be reached for comment despite calls left at the school.
The program was initiated in 1984 by Vladka Meed, a courier and weapons smuggler for the Jewish resistance in Poland during World War II and publisher of a harrowing early chronicle of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
Meed achieved a strong legacy through the force of her writing and lecturing for six decades.
She contributed articles to the Jewish newspaper, the Forward, became a vice president of the Jewish Labor Committee and started the national teacher-training program on the Holocaust that highlighted the role of the Warsaw resistance.
She liked to correct misperceptions that armed resistance was the only type that thrived in the ghetto. Her mother, she told the Forward, performed “an act of spiritual resistance” by continuing her son’s religious-education training in the ghetto and paying the private tutor with scraps of bread.
The cost is $3,000 per person, which is greatly funded by sponsors of the program: The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, Jewish Labor Committee, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, other supporters, and alumni of the program.
The teachers chosen are individuals who will be committed to educating their students on the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance, organizers said.
Upon her return, Hoffman will share her experience and knowledge from what is expected to be an amazing, fulfilling, and educational journey.
She will be teaching a year-long course in Holocaust Studies next year at Spanish River.