Rechnitz - Rohonc

Project dates: February -March 2015
Name of the project: Határtalan emlékezet (Memories Across the Border)


Varga Hedda secondary school history teacher, leader of the Hungarian students group):
Robert Kozak secondary school history teacher, leader of Graz group
Marta Goldmann (project coordinator):
06 70 602 8964

Project description:

The Jews in 1994 became outlaw and were deported to death camps, which was a significant event in the Hungarian Holocaust. To remember the events and visit the places of importance near the Austrian-Hungarian border will help students to get a glimpse into that horrible moment of history. An Austrian Secondary school from, m Graz (Graz International Bilingual School, partner teacher Robert Kozak) will take part in the project, the working language will be English and German. As a previous task the student will get information about the events in Western Hungary during the different classes (history, foreign language classes) and the already used pedagogical sources will be translated into Hungarian and English, which will be used at the memorial in Rechnitz. The two schools will visit the memorials in Graz together on 4th March 2015, where the Austrian students will make presentations in January. The Hungarian students will guide the students from the Graz school in Szombathely on 10thFebruary 2015 when they will show them the remarkable parts of the city especially the synagogue, the Jewish Cemetery, the Holocaust memorials (stumbling stones, memorial plaques of the deported Jews) and the contemporary Jewish community and Cultural centre, and the recently opened exhibition commemorating the deported Jews in the Iseum exhibition hall. The last item of the project will be a journey to Rechnitz, where we will visit the Holocaust memorial, commemorating the massacre of 24th March 1945 and pedagogical programs will be organized to the mixed groups. Students will make a digital presentations and an exhibition to show their experiences during the project. The project is academically supervised and assisted by the Refugius Austrian Rechnitz Memorial Project, our advisor is Andreas Lehner.

Project justification:

The primary aim of this project is to make the students face our history when they visit the local historical sites. This will generate an improvement in the students’ multicultural attitude with personal experiences, teaching tolerance to them with this dark side of history. The younger generation can only get information from their grandparents from historical books, but letting them learn about the events will help them to improve their tolerance against other nations and people. So many students with anti-Semitic views can be found in our school; in this case we hope they will think over their radical attitude towards these events and minority groups. The lack of education in the social field and about civil society generates a problem among youngsters, so we hope this project will help them to integrate into a more modern, tolerant society more easily. This attitude will help them to be an active part of the United European Nations and face our historical past

Project sustainability:

After the project we want to keep in touch with our sister school (The Graz school) and take part in international project concerning similar issues. We want to start a webpage and a group on a social website where students can communicate with each other. Making a curriculum is important which can be used at other lessons for instance, in literature where they learn how poets suffered in this era and their personal experiences if they were Jewish. The Hungarian project will be presented in a Project Day when the school leavers will get to know about these events. (Approximately 120 students each year) Students will present their experiences o television, in the local press and exhibition.

Part I.

On 10 February 2015

A group of secondary school students and two history teachers (34 people) came to Szombathely to spend a day with a group of secondary school students from Szombathely (about 25 people) to visit important sights relating to Jewish history and the Holocaust.

In the morning the Hungarian students organised a guided walk in town presenting and showing the most important sights to the Austrian students in German and in English.

Then we all went to a guided visit in the a recently opened temporary exhibition in the Savaria Museum called "Szemtől Szemben", Face to Face, showing the lives of the deported Jews from Szombathely.

In the afternoon the two groups visited the Holocaust memorial in Rechnitz, where on 24th March 1945 about 200 Hungarian Jews were massacred. Andreas Lehner, one of the managers of the Rechnitz memorial project told us about the historical background of the tragic event.

Part II.

On 4th March 2015.

The Hungarian group of secondary school students went to Graz and visited important sites realting to the Hunagrian holocaust. I don't think that any group from Hungary had visited these places before us.

Here is our programme:

10:00 :arrival at the Graz school, Georgigasse 85, 8020 Graz, stop the bus in Schlossstrasse.
10:15 : go to Belgierkaserne, visit the former SS barracks which is now an Austrian army barracks, see the monument inside the barracks. cca. 150 Hunagrian Jews were killed there. between April-May 1945.
11:00: go to town via the Jewish cemetery, stop briefly at the cemetery
11:30 : short tour of the city, including the old air shelter inside the mountain
12:30 : Lunchbreak
13:00/13:30: back to the bus, drive to the synagog, short stop
14:00 : former KZ Liebenau, another 150 or so Hunagrian Jews were killed at the former Concentration Camp, many corpses still lie under the ground...
15:00 return journey to Szombathely

This trip was extremely memorable and unforgattable for us. Many Thanks to Robert Kozak and his pupils.