YC Professor Wins Grant to Study Aboad

by Sue M. Roush

Erin DeHart has never travelled outside the United States before, but will soon take a trip of a lifetime. DeHart, an Associate Professor of Education at York College, has spent the last few years studying how to teach students about the Holocaust saying, “I’m an advocate of learning outside the classroom.” She will definitely be outside the classroom when she boards a plane to Washington, D.C. next week for the beginning of a three-week trip that will take her to Israel, Germany and Poland. 

DeHart will first fly to our nation’s capital where she will meet 24 other educators from across the country who will be her travelling companions. This trip is being partially funded by a grant from the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ program. “One of the people I have met is a part of the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish community center and she encouraged me to apply for the grant,” said DeHart. She also received funding from the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Education Society and the Levitt Trust.   

Erin DeHartDeHart and the others will spend one night in D.C. then board a plane for Israel. While in Israel, the group will spend time in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Masada. They will have an opportunity to tour a Historical Museum and attend sessions on the educational philosophy of Yad Vashem – the Holocaust martyrs’ and heroes’ remembrance authority; Nazi racial ideology and The Righteous. “A person is recognized as ‘righteous among the nations’ for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust,” said Dehart. “They are awarded a medal in their name, a certificate of honor and the privilege of having their name included on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous.”

After a week in Israel these educators will continue their trip to Germany. While there, they will have an opportunity to visit the Grunewald Station Memorial where 50,000 Jews were sent to work and death camps. They will also tour the Bergen-Belsen Memorial site located on the grounds of a former prisoner of war and concentration camp. 

Their final destination will involve crossing the border into Poland for a tour of the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters Memorial and Majdanek concentration camp. The next stop will be to Krakow to visit the State Museum at Auschwitz and Auchwitz-Birkenau; Oskar Schindler’s factory and the Plaszow concentration camp.  “To actually walk in concentration camps and ghettos seems almost unreal and I can't imagine how I will feel at that moment,” said DeHart.  “Coping with and learning more about how these terrible events occurred and how they were carried out is something I worry about, but I will be doing a lot of journaling and praying to get me through.”

DeHart is excited about the opportunity to travel with other educators, “we have time to learn together and collaborate on lessons, activities and research.  The group will also spend some time with teachers in Israel and Germany to discuss how they teach the Holocaust to students.”  Upon her return, DeHart will be available to speak to area civic organizations about her experience. 

To follow DeHart on her journey of a lifetime, you can click here to read her blog.

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