Piloting the ESSR: Dealing with the Past – The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (part 2)

November 1, 2019

The Bosnian Jewry During the State Socialism

In the second part of the lesson, teachers discussed the position of the Jews after the Second World War with students. The Union of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia was founded after the end of World War II to coordinate the Jewish communities of postwar federal Yugoslavia. The Jewish Community in all the Yugoslav republics held the Union of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia together. A special section was dedicated to the everyday life of Jews after the Second World War, noting the freedom to celebrate holidays, hold religious gatherings, and take part in similar activities.

We have succeeded in showing that the position of the Jewish religious communities did not differ from that of other religious communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Compared to the years of the Second World War, the position of the Jews in Yugoslavia is marked by development and recovery in all segments of existence.

During the closing remarks, students compared the position of the Jews in two different periods and two different systems (1941-1945 and the period after 1945).

Feedback from the Teachers

We asked our teachers to comment on the lessons and the topic. Here’s what they said:

“I’m amazed how students are aware of the importance of the topic. Their background is rich. With such students, there is hope for our country.”

“It would be great to continue with similar projects. Students are eager for knowledge.”

“Students had the opportunity to learn new information and broaden their knowledge. The theme of the relation between religion and state is insufficiently addressed in textbooks.”

“The facts in the lesson plan helped students understand the importance of critical thinking.”

“The student approach suggested in the lesson plan is creative, challenging and substantive learning.”

“The topic was interesting and relevant to all students.”

“Parents liked that students were exposed to the Erasmus + project.”

“The activity was motivational and the students loved it.”

“The lesson plan was written in a way that second graders could understand, taking on a relatively complex subject and making it user friendly for both students and teachers.”

We can say that students have acquired a broader knowledge of the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the different systems of government. It was important for students to understand that the history of Jewish people in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not important to one nation only, but that it is a common determinant of all peoples living in the same area. Students got a clear picture of what repression, the Holocaust, and the totalitarian system were. We believe that this project has contributed to the study of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history.