Educational mornings are one of the most important segments of the Festival. The goal of this project is to introduce, in a modern and understandable way, the tragedy of the Holocaust to young people through the prism of suffering of primarily Jewish people, but also all of those who, during the Second World War, in any way differed from the Nazi-mind acceptable type of human. This program provides an educational experience through which students and pupils can develop an understanding of how the Holocaust emerged from a progression of events. It enables them to gain insight into many historical, social, religious, political, and economic factors which cumulatively resulted in the Holocaust.
The history of the Holocaust represents a very effective subject for the examination of basic moral issues. Through a study of the Holocaust, students can learn the value of the need to nurture and protect the democratic values, as well as comprehend the importance of the tolerance. Students can come to realization (and they always do!) that silence and indifference to the suffering of others can result in repeating of the great injustices from the past.
Through discussions and exchange of views, young people understand that the acceptance of diversity and respect for the different is the only appropriate way to live in the modern world.
There are two types of Educational mornings. First one is intended for the elementary school pupils. Usual duration of this program is two hours and it consists of three parts: the screening of, for the children, appropriately selected and to the Holocaust thematically related film; the lecture of our honorary president and two times Academy Award winner, Mr. Branko Lustig, on his experiences from the notorious concentration camps and the importance of tolerance, acceptance of diversity and harmonious coexistence of members of different nationalities, races, religions and opinions; which is followed by a discussion with pupils.
There are also Educational mornings intended for secondary school pupils and university students, which are led by foreign guest – lecturers. As previous notable lecturers, we would like to single out Andreas Maislinger and Frank Stern. Mr. Maislinger, Austrian historian and political scientist, was the lecturer on Educational mornings in Zagreb in 2010. He is the founder of Braunau Contemporary History Days, member of the founding committee of the Austrian -Israeli society Tirol, former professor at the University of Innsbruck, the University of New Orleans, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was, together with Mr. Lustig, awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for “his 10 year fight to obtain official recognition of alternative, philanthropic service” at the Annual Dinner of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Mr. Stern, Austrian professor of film, modern German history and culture, was the lecturer on Educational mornings in Zagreb in 2011. He is the Director of Center for German and Austrian studies at the University of Beer – Sheva, outstanding authority in the field of Judaism and visiting lecturer at the Universities of Columbia, Georgetown, Berlin and Vienna.
Educational mornings program was launched in 2009, during the 3rd Jewish Film Festival. Every year, Educational mornings program receives a recommendation of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and was, thus far, attended by more than 4000 pupils. Prior experiences confirm great interest and extremely positive impressions from both teachers and pupils.
After the 4th Festival, due to excellent turnout and response from pupils, as well as great dialogue established with them after the screenings and lectures, Educational mornings project has further developed in the sense that we started to bring this program to other Croatian cities, outside the Festival term (“Educational mornings tour”). The focus is put on the cities from regions where the promotion of tolerance is needed (e.g. regions formerly affected by war, regions with numerous minorities…). The main goals remain the communication with the pupils, promotion of tolerance and pointing out the errors from the past with the intention that they are never to be repeated so we all can build better and more harmonious world.
In total, this program was held 7 times in Zagreb, 2 times in Osijek and once in Čakovec, Vukovar, Velika Gorica and Varaždin.