Equity & Access

Reading, Writing, and Reflection in the Holocaust Educators Network

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Summary: Each summer for the past ten years, NWP teachers, many from rural sites, have participated in summer seminars offered by the The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), a NYC-based organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of teachers and students about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides. TOLI seminars use an inquiry-based approach to provide educators with tools to heighten their students’ engagement with this sensitive subject matter, guiding students from shock and denial to compassion and social action. Teachers who complete the seminar become part of the Holocaust Educators Network.

Developed by Sondra Perl, one of the founders of the New York City Writing Project, TOLI seminars place writing at the center, both as a way for participants to process their learning and as a key dimension of the curriculum projects designed by participating teachers. If you are exploring ways to address issues of human rights and social justice in your work with other teachers or in your own classroom, check out the resources below to learn more about TOLI.

Original Date of Publication: 2010; 2017


A Visit with the Holocaust Educators Network (NWP Radio)

In this NWP Radio show, teachers who participated in TOLI’s 2010 institute share their reflections and insights. They discuss their experience of the institute, their learnings about the Holocaust and contemporary Jewish culture, and their application of institute content and practices to their own communities—specifically, to studying the history of Native American genocide and the resiliency of cultures in the face of such atrocities.

Listen to the Show


Duration: 1 hour

Download “A Visit with the Holocaust Educators Network”


The Sunflower Project

In this short film, Diane Williams, a teacher-consultant from the Boise State Writing Project, works with her middle school students to investigate the theme of forgiveness as developed by the novel The Sunflower. This project was, in part, the outgrowth of Diane’s participation in a TOLI Summer Seminar.


NWP Teachers and the Work of the Olga Lengyel Institute

The 2017 Annual Meeting plenary featured NWP/TOLI teachers Brenda Johnston, Tracei Willis, and Michelle Clark discussing how Holocaust education connects to issues of social justice today with specific examples of their work and inspiring stories about their students and schools.

Download 2017 NWP Annual Meeting Plenary Slides (with video, 311MB)
Download 2017 NWP Annual Meeting Plenary Slides (without video, 54MB)

To learn more, visit The Olga Lengyel Institute


Related Resources

Original Source: National Writing Project, https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/3225, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgrLh-zjZE4, and https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/4711

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