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Internship at The Memorial Library

Bailey Fairbanks and author Irving Roth at  The Memorial Library in New York

Bailey Fairbanks and author Irving Roth at The Memorial Library in New York

During the summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to work with The Memorial Library as a summer intern.

The Memorial Library was founded in 1962 by Auschwitz survivor Olga Lengyel as a repository for World War II memorabilia. After Olga’s death in 2001, the Board of Directors turned its attention toward teacher education. They contacted Dr. Sondra Perl at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. With the Library’s support, Dr. Perl created the Holocaust Educators Network, a nationwide program designed to bring the lessons of the Holocaust into today’s world. Beginning in the summer of 2006 with 21 teachers, HEN now numbers over 800 teachers in 40 states.

Bailey Fairbanks (second from right, next to last row) with other seminar participants on the steps of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

Bailey Fairbanks (second from right, next to last row) with other seminar participants on the steps of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

I have become the “chick” among the HENs. Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to New York City to intern at the Library itself. I worked alongside Dr. Perl and her colleagues to host the summer seminars, training teachers around Holocaust education and Human Rights. The first seminar focuses on teachers who are working to further implement Holocaust studies into their curriculum to educate students on social justice and human rights. During the seminar, experts from the field lecture, the teachers prepare curricula, and they explore different resources available. The second seminar focuses on educators who are interested in creating their own satellite versions of the teacher training to implement in their districts. During the leadership seminar the educators hone in on the message of their satellite and develop a three to five-day training to bring home.

My involvement as an intern was expansive. I worked directly with all of the facilitators preparing materials, prepping for lectures and workshops, assisting the teachers, and participating in the seminar as well. I was able to attend all of the seminars lectures, functions, and trainings. It was the experience of a lifetime and it allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge from an amazing group of passionate educators. I am fortunate enough to be returning this summer as a second year intern and I look forward to my continued involvement with the organization.  

Student Story, history home

Bailey Fairbanks and author Irving Roth at The Memorial Library in New York