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Cologne Winter School in Israel 2019

Impressions of the Cologne Summer School Israel 2018 "Views on and of the Israeli society" (foto and collage: »school is open« 4.0, CC-BY)

»school is open« 4.0 is involved with different formats in the educational work against Israel-related anti-Semitism and contributes to a diversity orientated perspective on Israel. This 3rd study trip to Israel from November 20th till 28th, we enable teacher training students at the University of Cologne to discover Israeli inclusion and diversity through the stories of Alumni of the University of Cologne or their descendants living nowadays in Israel. As part of this year’s celebration of the re-founding of the University of Cologne in 1919, »school is open« documents the stories of Alumni between Cologne in Israel in the last 100 years. Their stories are an appreciation of Jewish life before, during and after the Shoah. Jewish life in Cologne was and is related to the University of Cologne: Jews have studied at the University of Cologne and some of them have immigrated to Israel in the course of their lives, they have completed aliyah. The focus on the stories of Cologne Alumni forges the link to the everyday life of the teacher training students today. The alumni talk about places, arguments with professors, examination stress and much more, contexts and situations that are familiar to the students.

One of these Alumni is Dr. Otto Max Hecht. Otto Hecht was a teacher in Cologne in the 1920s. He was fired from a local school due to Nazi laws but was able to work at the jewish Real-Gymnasium Jawne in Cologne. After he gained his PhD and received the official document in 1934, Otto Hecht fled into the British Mandate of Palestine. Otto Hecht met Rachel Heymann, who he knew from Ezra Youth Movement in Germany. They married and started a family. Hecht was very active in teaching and had influence in building up Israeli schools. In July 2019, the »school is open« members Silke Bettina Kargl and Frieder Schumann met his son Arie Hecht and granddaughter Yehudit Shilo in Jerusalem to prepare this Cologne Winter School. Arie Hecht is looking forward to meet the teacher training students during our stay from November 20th till 28th in Israel!

Dr. Arie Hecht, son of Cologne alumnus Dr. Otto Max Hecht

We wish that everyone understands how Israel is a normal democratic state. Research, Development, Buildings etc. Israel is modern and always developing. We are many religious communities, but we all work together.

Dr. Arie Hecht, son of Cologne alumnus Dr. Otto Max Hecht

Besides the descendants of Otto Hecht we will furthermore meet other Alumni. The Faculty of Law Alumni and now famous chef in Israel, Tom Franz will guide the group on his favorite market in Tel Aviv. Afterwards we’re going to meet other Alumni: Grisha Alroi-Arloser studied at Cologne’s Faculty of Philosophy Jewish Studies. He now is CEO of AHK Israel and actively engaged in exchange between Israel and Germany. Roby Nathanson studied at the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne and now leads MACRO – Center for Political Economics.

At Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv we will discover the history of the Jewish Diaspora, doing aliyah and living in Israel in general. Participants will research the specific stories of Jewish inhabitants of Cologne and Cologne Alumni between Cologne and Israel.

Discovering the general history through individual stories is one aspect of the pedagogical concept of Yad Vashem, the International Holocaust Rememberance Center and the International School for Holocaust Studies. During the Cologne Winter School the teacher training students will stay for two days in Yad Vashem and learn more about this innovative pedagogical concept. They’re going to discover individual stories before, during and after the Shoah which show the diversity of Jews throughout history. In Workshops the teacher training students will deepen their competencies on how to identify current forms of antisemitism and how to stop anti-Semitism in schools.

Watch out for more details to come! Check out @schoolisopen #CologneSummerSchoolIsrael #UniKoelnAlumniAlija #UniKoeln100 in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.