The Conference of Holocaust Museums

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Agricola de Cologne’s presentation of SFC – Shoah Film Collection @ International Conference of Holocaust Museums stands under the Patronage of the European Parliament
4 & 5 June 2012 @ Academy of Sciences – 4 June – 11:20h – 13.20 – Ambassadors session
image: from the right to the left – Agricola de Cologne, the Ambassador from Austria, the Ambassador of the Netherlands, the Ambassador of Czech Republik, the Ambassador of Belarus, Victoria Shaldova (SHAMIR) conference leader

Like “A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012” on 1 June, also the conference was opened by the Israeli ambassador Hamit Ben-Jaakov at 10h.

But my own contribution, the presentaion aof SFC – Shoah Film Collection – was standing under the Patronage by Europaen Parialament
In the conference documentation, the Conference is shown as an intervention and part of “A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 – Commemorative Interventions”, and as such as an event of interventions.

The conference started with the presentation of “The Eternal Jew” as the topic of a museum collection in Israel. The lecture was about the stereotypes of Antisemitism until these days.
Afterwards some dozens of new books were presented to the audience about different Jewish issues. But afterwards, for me personally and, of course, also for “A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012” the most important part came – my 20 minute lecture about “Shoah Film Collection”

“Me (Wilfried Agricola de Cologne) was presenting Shoah Film Collection and the presentation context “A Virtual Memorial – Commemorative Interventions” on the 1st day of the Conference of Holocaust Museums, 4 June 2012 – in the framework of “Session I” – the “ambassadors session” (see image above). This took about 20 minutes.
The text can be downloaded as PDF Shoah Film Collection and the idea of a nomadic memorial
Afterwards, the ambassador of Austria (left from Agricola de Cologne) followed next explaining how Austria is dealing nowadays with the Holocaust. He spoke very open and frank words about the position of the Austrians during World War II and the holocaust, as well as how the Austrians were dealing after the war with the Nazi history. The ambassador of the Netherlands went even further, when he was explaining that for long time after the war nearly all Dutch felt like they would have been in the resistance while the majority in reality collaborated with the Nazi. The Czech ambassador explained that a proper deadling with Jews and the holocaust started only after the political change and pointed to the declaration of Terezin (Theresienstadt) and the planned international conference about the holocaust in Prague in November 2012. Finally, the ambassador from Belarus tried to explain that the Belarussians were always frieds of the Jews, since the Jews would have been a most relevant part of the Belarussian population, and talked about the influence of Jewish Culture (to name Marc Chagall, who was born in Witebsk/Belarus). This was a very exciting experience to see how more or less critical the official representatives of Western and Eastern European countries were understanding the position of their countries in the post-war era until today. All of them however agreed, that the memory of the Holocaust needs to be the basis that Holocaust and other crimes against humanity must not happen again, while in fact these crimes are happening before our very eyes.

After the lunch break “Session II” was dealing with concepts and developments of Holocaust museums including referents from Dachau (Germany), Jewish Museum Vilnius (Lithuania), Daugavpils (Latvia) and Moskow (Russia), “Session III” was about Holocaust memorialization is handled in Romania, Russia, Czech Republik and Lithuania.

On 5 June, the conference was continued on 9h with “Session IV” dedicated to “resistance and Jewish soldiers and their place in Holocaust museums, topics which were the way they were presented new and interesting to me, especially the role of Jewish soldiers and partisans in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Before the lunch break, Rabbi Menachem Barkahan was guiding the conference participants through Riga Holocaust museum, which he was doing in Hebrew, and it was astonishing, the whole atmosphere and the tour as such, were completely different than the tour he was guiding earlier for the participants of Shoah Film Collection.
After the lunch break, 14h the conference continued with “Session V” about provoking themes and anti-Semitic propaganda in the Holocaust museums, including contributions from Germany about Latvia collaboration during Holocaust, which was also the topic of the Israeli referent from Yad Vashem, and anti_Semitic propaganda in news papers and in a National museum in Slovakia.
After the coffee break, 15.45h, “Session VI” was spotlighting educational programs at some Holocaust museums in Israel, Lithuania and Riga.

Congress photos

auditorium @ Academy of Sciences
Image: Auditorium of Academy of Sciences Riga –
Dintars Zilgalvis is showing Agricola de Cologne the auditorium where the Conference of Holocaust museums is supposed to take place on 4 & 5 June.

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