September 29, 2022 | Stories
A recent study revealed that teenagers know less about the Holocaust than their elders. The Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation (MKJF) has long understood the need to not only educate about the Holocaust, but also combat antisemitism in Kansas.
To address this challenge across middle and high school classrooms in Kansas, MKJF turned to immersive technology. Equipped with a gift from an anonymous Field of Interest Fund at WF in 2020, the organization purchased an educational program and 30 virtual reality headsets to share 360-degree photos of former concentration camps through the lens of a Jewish girl who lived during the Holocaust.
“Students virtually walk through Auschwitz with Eva Kor as she tells her story,” said MKJF Director Julie Fruhaf. She noted over 1,000 individuals participated in the immersive experience – including our staff. “Our community has never had the opportunity of such important influences on its students.”
This form of education goes beyond the classroom walls to reach students directly and teachers are eager to fit the program into their curriculum. At a time when hate crimes and hate speech have risen sharply, Fruhaf says sharing the life lessons of forgiveness and hope from this project is critical now more than ever.
“We’re sharing the Jewish story and letting the people of Wichita and Kansas know more about what happened during the Holocaust,” said Fruhauf. “This program is preserving the Jewish identity and helping to create a more just and righteous world through the education of others.”