The story of the Jewish people who lived in eastern Europe is a well-kept secret.
We are looking for 12 and 13 year olds to help bring the story of the Soviet Jews and specifically the Jews of Belarus to life. It is a story that matters, more than we realise.
This is an amazing opportunity to participate in a programme unlike any other and there are limited places available. The programme is a journey of personal development through the process of becoming a history explorer. Participation also means that teenagers in Belarus will also be able to explore in Belarus, discovering the history in their own country that is little spoken of. Who were the Jews of Belarus and what did happen to them between 1941 and 9143?
Covering a territory that has had so many identities: the Russian Empire, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Pale of Settlement, the Soviet Union it has had ever-changing borders and was the home to 5 million Jewish people at its peak. The history of the Jews people from this region is rich and fascinating but fraught with hardship, persecution and oppression.
and created a unique online education programme for twelve and thirteen-year-olds. The programme. called ‘Making History Together’ brings a whole new perspective on looking at and understanding the Holocaust. This interactive programme looks at the hidden history of the Jews of Belarus and the Soviet Union and, using this history, the participants go on a journey to explore themes that are meaningful and relevant to them in today’s world. Not only does it reveal hidden history, but it gives depth and clarity in understanding antisemitism, where Zionism came from and how it all relates to Israel. The whole programme enables the participants to go on a journey learning how to be changemakers and become the best versions of themselves.
The programme runs for seven months, and each month the participants receive beautifully designed packs in the post, complete with secret envelopes which reveal hidden history, links to films to watch and activities to do with family and friends. There is an online session once a month which brings all the participants together to explore the history and the themes; generations and traditions, identity, power and leadership, antisemitism, repair of the world and moving to the future. There are no gratuitous images, the programme is age appropriate, there is no homework, and what’s more, it is informal and extremely thought provoking.
Currently, two travelling exhibitions are in development, sponsored by the British Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, one in Russian and one in English. They will accompany the programme and which the participants, year on year, will become a part of. Participants in the programme need to speak English and as the sessions are all online we are able to accommodate applications from as far as the east coast of the USA. In Belarus, the programme is in-person.
But this isn’t the whole story! In Belarus, there is no official Holocaust education programme and very few young people today know about the story of the Jews of Belarus. Some villages before the war were close to a hundred percent Jewish. Before the war, over a million Jews lived in the territory that was then Belarus. Over 800,000 were murdered by the Germans. Yet this history is little known in the country today. As part of Making History Together, The Together Plan engaged in a partnership with a College in Minsk to trial a parallel programme and we are excited to say that it was a great success. The teenagers who participated were humbled by what they learned and there is an appetite now to learn more and develop the programme further. Watch the film of the Belarus group visiting the village of Porechye.
What are the parents from Making History Together 2021 saying?
The programme was a wonderful experience overall, both informative and challenging in the best possible way. I believe my son felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment by the end
Will your child be a changemaker in 2022?
The link to apply for a place in 2022 can be found here.
Read the article that was published in the Jewish Chronicle on the 25th June 2021