When a fourteen-year-old makes a point of saying that he feels equipped to stand up to antisemitic bullying as a result of the Making History Together Programme – you know the programme is a success. It’s the feedback, not at the end of the programme that matters, but the long-term impact that counts. The Making History Together participants are giving it a resounding thumbs up – both here in the UK and in the USA.
In 2020, in the height of Covid, The Together Plan Charity with the support of Jewish Child’s Day brought ‘Making History Together’ to life. A six month programme bringing young learners together virtually to explore the little known story of what happened to the Jews in the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1944, with a focus on Belarus.
The programme is journey of self discovery as much as it is a tool to better understand the Holocaust. By starting a Holocaust education journey in Belarus, young learners meet brave Jewish partisans – people who learned to resist, to fight and, in some cases, to survive. Making History Together has been designed to help develop a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, what was lost in Belarus, antisemitism and the dangers of divisive rhetoric and hate.
On Sunday 13th November close to a hundred people gathered at The Grove Hotel in Chandlers Cross, for the unveiling of the Making History Together travelling exhibition, a vibrant, modern and unique informal learning tool. It is flexible and interactive with QR codes to access films and extra information designed to be used to promote discussions and workshops, provide answers and generate questions. The participants of the Making History Together Programme contribute to the exhibition year on year through submissions of art, poems and letters, making it personal and meaningful. The exhibition is compelling and fascinating and has been created so that people of all ages will find it eye-opening, engaging and enlightening.
The Making History Together Programme is the brainchild of Debra Brunner, co-founder and CEO of The Together Plan, and was brought to life with co-creator Leo Levine. Through their youth programmes in Belarus, The Together Plan came to understand that young people there had a yearning to reconnect with their history, heritage and identity and to be able to tell their story. They also discovered that very few people in Western Europe and beyond know little about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, and they realised that there was a burgeoning need to explore this hidden history to fully understand the Holocaust. Young Belarusians are for the first time exploring their own Holocaust history, discovering the influences of Jewish community life in almost every village and town and how it was destroyed. It is giving them a sense of responsibility to bring this hidden history into the light and they are taking their role very seriously. Belarus has a 700 year Jewish story to tell. However, the Holocaust and 70 years of communism cast a dark shadow and today few there are able or equipped to bring this history to life, but The Making History Together Programme is bringing about change. The Together Plan is creating a Russian language version of the Making History Together travelling exhibition which will be sent to Belarus in 2023.
The event launch at The Grove had a stunning lineup of speakers – the The Rt Hon Lord Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues and Co-Chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, Dr Joanna Michlic, Holocaust historian and author, John Benjamin (BBC Antiques Roadshow) – whose own family came from Belarus, former Ambassador to Belarus Fionna Gibb and some of the participants of the programme both here in the UK and in the USA.
The exhibition has been sponsored by The British Embassy in Minsk and it is now available to travel. Both charities are very excited to begin the conversations and bring it to educational establishments, places of worship and public spaces.
Special thanks to Jewish Child’s Day, to The Grove Hotel for hosting the exhibition launch and to Emma Ziff (Emma Ziff Photography) for her time and input at the event.
The Together Plan is now taking applications for the Making History Together Programme 2023. Click here for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
For information about the the exhibition – please contact email@example.com