20th century Taygetus – Commemorating the Holocaust of People with Disabilities
The Immanuel Home and Special Needs School of the Reformed Congregation of the Great Church of Debrecen achieved several new developments within the framework of the 20th Taygetus project between December 2013 and 30 May 2015. The various developments and programmes were all dedicated to the commemoration of the Holocaust of people with disabilities with the aim of reducing prejudices; calling attention to the historical crimes and dead-locks; raising moral questions and transforming the attitude towards disabilities „from Taygetus into equal opportunities”.
The successful realisation of our goals is also due to the contribution of our programme partners: the Office of the Commissioner for Educational Rights, the Hand in Hand Foundation, the Equal Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities non-profit Ltd., Schule Rogatsboden (Austria), Weiterbildungskolleg Mönchengladbach (Germany) and Bethel (Germany).
Within the framework of the project:
1. Three conferences and accompanying workshops were organized (in December 2013, February 2014 and May 2015).
2. Four educational modules were completed. Two of them offer educational material for history, history of arts, R. E. and social sciences classes in secondary schools with several multimedia resources and instructions for teachers. (“Where do you take us?”, “Degenerate art”). Both modules had been tried out in practice and the experiences – both the teachers’ and the students’ ones – were discussed on the closing conference in May. Two other educational modules were created, too, for pupils with mental disabilities and special educational needs. All of the modules are public; they are available at www.mindeneletertek.hu and their contents are free.
3. We issued a call for proposals from a selected group of contemporary artists for a work of art that reflects on the present situation of people with disabilities. We came to the decision that its location should be Karakter Café and its surroundings behind the Great Church. Our intention was to have a memorial located in the public space of Debrecen that raises awareness of the situation of people with disabilities in today’s Hungarian society by means of referring to the historical past, that is, the Holocaust of people with disabilities. The jury consisting of experienced professionals and experts had to choose from five outstanding proposals. The selected proposal was that of Ferenc Gróf, a Hungarian artist living in Paris. His work of art entitled Shade on Shade reflects on one of the paragraphs of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (The Convention was adopted in 2006 and Hungary ratified it in 2007.) Shade on Shade can be found on the glass ceiling of Karakter 1517 Café and it serves as a digital gate for further information available at the website www.mindeneletertek.hu.
4. The originally planned travelling exhibition had been replaced by a more modern solution, namely a short film, which – “travelling” in the virtual space – will hopefully reach even more people. The film features well-known public figures, who are shown in the company of children with disabilities, playing and chatting together. They share their experiences about what is means to meet people with disabilities and argue that every life is equally valuable.
5. We developed the methodology of inclusive commemoration which provides suitable theoretical background and also practical ideas for how to hold a commemorating event with children with and without disabilities together.
6. We created the aforementioned website (www.mindeneletertek.hu), which provides space for the educational modules, programmes, films and the virtual content of the memorial.
Each element of the project was carried out in the spirit of equal opportunity as a result of the background work of a professional support team.
The members of the support team are:
• Dr. Aáry-Tamás Lajos
• Dr. Kálmán Zsófia
• Giflo H. Péter
• Gönczöl Enikő
• Győri Zsófia
• Locsmándi Alajos
• Mélyi József
• Pordán Ákos
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