Tuesday 5 October was World Teacher’s Day. We want to take the occasion as an opportunity to thank educators for their important role in our communities and the positive impact they have on the lives of students.
We are also excited to introduce our Education Coordinator, Tamas!
Tamas is an educator with two decades of experience working with learners of different ages in Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
Along with his commitment to enriching students’ learning experiences, he brings to his work a passion for history and a keen awareness of the lessons that the past can teach present and future generations.
On World Teacher’s Day Centre Director, Kathy Baykitch had an opportunity to speak with Tamas.
Kathy: Tell us a little about yourself
Tamas: I’m a teacher. No, I’m an educator. I have as much passion for learning as I do for teaching.
I’m also a father who learns every day from his children and tries his best to be a source of love, comfort, inspiration and motivation for them.
I’m the grandson and grand-nephew of Holocaust survivors who is determined to honour their memory and keep their legacy alive.
I was born in Germany and grew up in Hungary before moving to the UK, then to the Middle East and finally arriving in Adelaide in 2018, which feels like the place I was destined to be.
I have been a student, a teacher, teacher-trainer and stay-at-home father in these places.
In 2013, I decided to celebrate my birthday by running a marathon. After this, I became a long-distance runner. Running defines who I am as a person: passionate, determined, ready to face challenges and someone who takes enormous pleasure in overcoming them.
Kathy: Why is educating young people about the Holocaust important?
Tamas: The Holocaust is one of the most important lessons we must learn. It is our duty to understand how we came to a point in our history where the annihilation of people became a matter of logistics and a series of mundane bureaucratic processes. We must tell every generation (young and old) that we are never as far from this kind of cruelty as we would like to think.
It is important that we remind young people that it is never OK to sacrifice our freedoms and passively witness how certain groups of people are denied their rights or are discriminated against. The Holocaust is the story of the evil we are capable of if we uncritically accept that we are better, more important or more deserving than others. never as far from this kind of cruelty as we would like to think
Students must learn that they should never allow comfort, convenience and complacency to take the place of critical thinking, facing uncomfortable truths, and doing the right thing.
Kathy: What is the most challenging about delivering Holocaust education?
During his talks, Andrew Steiner often reminds students that only about 50% of people have heard of or learned about the Holocaust. With fewer and fewer survivors to share their testimony, there’s a danger that the Holocaust may become one of those historical events we briefly learn about in history class but feel no connection to.
AHMSEC plays a very special role in making sure the lessons of the Holocaust stay relevant to younger generations. The challenges that come with delivering Holocaust education are also privileges.
It’s a privilege to be able to engage students in ways that focus on the lessons rather than the horrors of the Holocaust. It’s a privilege to give students age-appropriate factual content and give them time and space to reflect on the implications it has on the world around them. It’s a privilege to connect and build trust with students, and to find present-day lessons about the Holocaust.
Kathy: What inspires you about your role as a Holocaust educator?
Tamas: Working with survivors Andrew and Eva, who share their testimony with students with humility, compassion, and love has been probably the most rewarding experience of my professional life.
Meeting students and seeing the impact of our program on them is a daily source of inspiration. I appreciate the staff and the volunteers at the museum who go above and beyond their duty to help people learn about the Holocaust.
I’m thankful to our visitors who come and spend hours contemplating, discussing, sharing their thoughts and experiences. I’m grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn from the hundreds of Holocaust educators and organisations that share my passion for learning.
And perhaps most importantly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to give voice to six million untold stories, including those of my grandparents, who could never talk about what happened to them.