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Obedience and Resistance

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Obedience and Resistance:
choices at the time of the national-socialist dictatorship

International Educational Forum organised by
the Hannah Arendt Association in co-operation with
the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Budapest
Budapest, February 3-4. 2003

Occasion of the Forum
In the spring of 2003 an exhibition on the activities of the "Weiße Rose" resistance group was displayed at the Eötvös Lóránd University of Budapest. The educational forum, related to the exhibition, aimed to introduce educational materials which teachers can use in their classrooms in order to promote a deeper understanding of the different groups of the national-socialist society: the mechanism of the mass-destruction and the motives of perpetrators, the millions of bystanders, resistance fighters and rescuers.

Conference objectives
to draw attention of teachers to the exhibition and its educational potential;
to draw attention to the importance and the necessity of holocaust and citizenship education;
to make available teaching materials, documents and methods introduced during the conference and which can be used in classes or at the Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It is a huge challenge for educators to understand and to make understood the totalitarian societies of the 20th century: we have to tell the individual stories of the millions who were murdered and at the same time to teach about the inhuman machinery of genocide. We have to introduce how millions of people became perpetrators or unsympathetic and paralysed bystanders. The most important is however to tell the stories of those very few people who became resistance fighter or rescuer, and whose life stands in front of us as a proof and as an example for moral autonomy and courage.
This challenge sometimes seems too big during the everyday of school life: there is not enough time, there are no appropriate frameworks where we could talk about moral dilemma or autonomy. However we have to take charge of this mission if we want to make sure that the terrors committed in the 20th century won't happen again. The Obedience and Resistance: choices at the time of the national-socialist dictatorship. International Educational Forum was organised in order to help teachers in facing this challenge.

The target group was comprised of policy makers, education specialists, researchers and teachers. The members of the conference totalled 70 and more than one hundred people participated at the public round-table discussion.

PROGRAM (You can read the detailed program by clicking on the link)
Corresponding with the conference objectives the two-days program afforded the possibility to discuss more general and theoretical questions, to present different teaching materials and to establish personal contacts as well.
The public round-table discussion on "Collaboration and being a bystander: the participation of the silent majority in the dictatorship" with the participation of László Varga, Krisztián Ungváry, András Kovács, György Bence) at the Goethe Institut appealed to a lot of people that confirmed the significance of the conference's topics.

Yad Vashem - The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
Task force for international cooperation on Holocaust education remembrance and research