Centropa is a Jewish historical institute dedicated to preserving 20th century Jewish family stories from Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and working with teachers to use those stories to engage their students in conversations about history, civics, and ethics.
Since 2000, Centropa has interviewed 1,200 elderly Jews still living in the 15 countries between the Baltic and the Aegean (from Estonia and Russia to Greece and Turkey), but we never used video nor did we focus primarily on the Holocaust. Instead, we collected and digitized thousands of family photos. Our interviewers spent up to twenty hours with each respondent, asking them to paint for us a picture of the world they grew up in - as well as the world they rebuilt for their families after the war (we also dutifully record everything our respondents wish to share with us about the Shoah).
The interviews are audio taped, transcribed, translated and entered into our searchable, keyworded online database at www.centropa.org. Using the photographs and stories, we make short, multimedia films of our most compelling stories, as well as documentaries to put them in context. We have over 40 films, ranging in length from 3 to 30 minutes, perfect for classroom use.
We work with educators in over 500 schools in 18 countries, teachers who use our resources to teach history, social studies, English language arts, art, film, creative writing, foreign language and AP classes. We hold local workshops, national seminars, and an annual Summer Academy when we bring up to 90 teachers from about 15 countries to the great cities of Central Europe to study together, walk the streets of history, and create cross-cultural projects for their students to carry out during the year.