Children's Holocaust Memorial ~~ Six Million Paper Clips

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

Whitwell Elementary School ~~ Tenessee


Our story begins at Whitwell Elementary School. Whitwell, Tennessee, on the far side of the mountains from Chattanooga is a small town of just over 1500 people. Whitwell is an extremely homogenous town. Everyone is Caucasian and belongs to some Protestant denomination; there are no Catholics or ethnic minorities in Whitwell.


The principal, Mrs. Hooper, had for some time been concerned about the lack of diversity in Whitwell and worried about how the town’s children would fare when they encountered diversity elsewhere.


In 1999 the Whitwell Vice Principal, David Smith attended a teaching conference and returned, both disturbed and excited, about teaching the Holocaust. As he explained to Mrs. Hooper, studying the Holocaust would teach students about diversity and the terrible consequences of intolerance.


And so they began planning to offer a “voluntary” course on the Holocaust to all eighth graders. Parents would be involved and consulted due to the disturbing and graphic nature of the subject.

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

Part of History ~~ Murder of Six Million Jews


The first class consisted of 16 students and was taught by Sandra Roberts, a language arts teacher. She read extensively to prepare herself for the new course. When she eventually informed the students that the Nazis had murdered six million Jews, the students were very quiet and then began to ask questions about how many is six million.


One of the students suggested that maybe they should collect six million of “something.” Many ideas were discussed -- pennies, pencils, books, but eventually the Whitwell eighth grade students settled on the idea of collecting six million paper clips.


As simple as that, the students began collecting paper clips from their homes. Pretty soon they were telling relatives and friends about the Paper Clip Holocaust Project and before long they had 1000 paper clips. They wrote letters to film stars, politicians, sports heroes and industry leaders asking for help.


Along with packages of paper clips, the students began to receive letters from people telling about their own family’s holocaust experience and thanking the young people for their concern and their project. Eventually the letters filled nine notebook binders.

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

Telling a Story ~~ Creating a Website


Still, they were a long way from six million paper clips. Coach David Smith suggested they create a web site, tell their story and enlist the help of many other people. The web site explained their project and the fact that they would build a monument to the Holocaust as soon as they achieved their goal.


Even with a lot of help, they only had 160,000 paper clips by the end of the year and the students were very discouraged. Unknown to everyone at Whitwell, help was on the way.


Two German White House newspaper correspondents, Dagmar and Peter Schroeder learned about the Whitwell student project on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.


The couple wrote letters and had them printed in German newspapers asking for help, asking for paper clips, and for letters explaining why people wanted to support the project. Within three weeks the Whitwell students has received 2,000 letters and 46,000 paper clips.

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

An Overwhelming Response


The paper clips that kept arriving came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Many of the packages and envelopes, as the Schroeders had hoped, also contained poems, letters, drawings, and different kinds of artwork. The students and faculty of Whitwell were of course amazed by the response from Americans and from Germans.


All of these materials were important as well as deeply moving and the Schroeders embarked on a writing project -- a book documenting the surprising and very gratifying German response -- "Das Buroklammer - Projekt." In the fall of 2000 their book, The Paper Clip Project, was published in Germany.


An American woman named Dita Smith read their book and wanted to know more about the project, the school, and the children, so she traveled to Whitwell to find out for herself. Consequently, on April 7, 2001 which happened to be Passover, a Holy Jewish religious celebration, an article titled, "A Measure of Hope" appeared in the Washington Post, where Ms. Smith worked as an editor.


It wasn't very long before other American TV and radio stations and newspapers picked up the Washington Post story and told the citizens of America exactly what was being accomplished at Whitwell Elementary in Tennessee. Of course every media story urged those who wanted to help to send the students at Whitwell more paper clips.


The volume of letters and boxes, mail for Whitwell School became so great that the US Postal letter carrier could no longer squeeze them into his vehicle. Whitwell staff began picking up their mail, sometimes two and three times a day. And the task of counting all the paper clips was so immense, that parents and community members assisted with the counting process.

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

Planning a Memorial ~~ Finding a Railcar


Before long they passed the five million mark and the goal of six (6) million paper clips was in sight. The students contacted the Schroeders and asked them what they should do if people kept sending paper clips to the school after they reached their goal. The students had never even considered that going over six million was a possibility.


The Schroeders thoughtfully reminded them that historians believe there were at least eleven (11) million Jewish and non-Jewish victims murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust. So the new goal for the Whitwell, Tennessee students became "eleven million paper clips."


And soon they would need a permanent home, a proper and fitting memorial for the eleven million paper clips, because, after all they represented eleven million innocent lives. But what kind of memorial? What would it look like? What would its purpose be? These discussions among the adults led to two ideas: the need to design a memorial and to obtain an original German railcar to house the paper clips. Simple enough.


The Schroeders thought they would find an old railcar in a matter of days -- the German people were known and for building things to last. They contacted all sorts of people in Germany, but no one knew of a World War II vintage railcar that was available.

A few months later they flew to Germany and drove over 2000 miles through the European countryside looking in old rail-yards. As they got ready to fly home, an old friend told them they should go talk to the Director of the Railroad Museum in Ganzlin, Germany. So they did.


The museum had one railcar, built in 1917, Number 011-993, just like the ones in hundreds of pictures from the Nazi Era. It took a great deal of persuasion, but the Museum Director finally agreed to sell the railway car to the American school children; it turned out the Director had a little girl.


Meanwhile, in Tennessee, there was much activity. Principal Hooper arranged a town meeting and shared the project with the local community and asked for help in constructing the memorial. The community response was overwhelmingly positive.

Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

Completing the Children’s Holocaust Memorial


The railway car eventually arrived and the transportation costs were absorbed by the German railroad company and the German Ministry of Defense shipped the railroad car over 4,000 miles to Baltimore, Maryland, free of charge. The American company CSX offered to transport the railcar to Whitwell, also free of charge. The CSX train left Baltimore early on the morning of September 11, 2001.


That same day terrorists flew planes into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and hijacked another plane that crashed in Pennsylvania due to the sacrificial actions of American citizens on board the plane who chose to fight the terrorists. The Whitwell students, faculty, and community were in shock and mourned along with the rest of America. But their work on the memorial continued.


Once the railcar was moved into place, stairs and a ramp for the disabled were built. The children had decided to place the paper clips, five million and six million, behind glass partitions in the two ends of the train car. In November the students began filling the memorial, one wheelbarrow-full at a time. As they had received over thirty million paper clips, they placed another eleven million paper clips into a sealed steel container that rests next to the railcar and will never be opened.


One student placed 1600 paper clips aside in a small box to represent the number of citizens living in Whitwell. It was a sobering reminder that the paper clips represented actual people, mothers, fathers, and children -- people just like them. Many citizens of Whitwell quietly dug up flowers and bushes from their own yards and planted them around the railcar; within a week the memorial was surrounded by a blooming garden.


The Whitwell Memorial was formally dedicated on November 9, 2001 which was the 63rd anniversary of Krystallnacht (Night of Broken Glass - 1938) when the Nazis went on an anti-Semitic rampage and destroyed Jewish businesses, burned synagogues and murdered Jewish people in the street and in their homes.


Since that time many schools in Austria, Canada, Germany, and the United States have begun creating and building their own Holocaust Memorials. Whitwell Elementary has become a school field trip destination for many students. Visiting students hear lectures about the dangers of racism, persecution, and the Holocaust --- and the lectures are given by seventh and eighth grade students.

An Efficient and Dependable Rail System was Necessary to Transport the Millions
An Efficient and Dependable Rail System was Necessary to Transport the Millions
Quotes and  Information about the Teachers and Authors
Quotes and Information about the Teachers and Authors | Source
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial
Six Million Paper Clips :The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial | Source

More by this Author


Your Comments Are Welcome and Appreciated 62 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

To petition such a time in our history is a wonderful way to grow strong. Knock life down.. and it will stand up again even taller. Hubs like this help us become a learned society.. the indelible marks that stains our hearts can never disappear but the lessons we learn from tributes can fade the hurt.. and the Phoenix could rise unshackled... Great Hub Phdast7


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

thank you Frank. I was so impressed and moved by their story that I felt compelled to share it with others. Remember back in December when you all hoped I would get selected for the week long workshop in DC on Holocaust Memorials and Monuments Well the week I spent there in January was an incredible and intensive learning experience and I learned about Whitwell Elementary while I was there And they are just a state over from me and I had never heard of them. Life is funny. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very inspiring hub, phdast7. It was wonderful to read about the enthusiastic involvement of the children and about the adults who encouraged them. The memorial was a great project.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Thank you for this post! I had no idea and am so glad to know about this school, the teachers, the children, the memorial and all who participated in establishing it. This effort reached across the world and I live next door to having had no idea that it was happening or that it is there--thank you again. Pinning to my Leadership/Character/Heroes/Heroines board.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Alicia - Thank you for taking time to read the hub and for leaving such an encouraging comment. I couldn't agree with you more, they were and are an inspiring group of people and they completed a very important project. Theresa.


MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

Theresa, I am in tears. This is such an incredibly powerful story. Sharing on FB and here. ~Lurana


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are welcome RT and thank you for reading and commenting on it. It is amazing, until I went to that intensive worshop about Holocaust monuments and memorials in Washington, this past January, I had no knowledge of this school, the student;s project or the memorial they created. And I am two hours from Chattanooga and four hours from Memphis where I attend a Holocaust Conference about once every three years. How did I not know? And as you pointed out the story has traveled around the world. What a wonderful idea -- a Leadership/Character/ Heroes/Heroines Board. I love it! Theresa


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

This is a beautiful story, Theresa. The 8th graders in Naples of the Collier Country School System did the same thing. Their school project opened the Holocaust Museum in Naples. They also did the 6 million paperclips project. It is a wonderful project to have children actually open up a museum and do much of the research. Their projects and research are in the museum today. They also have the boxcar adjacent to the museum. So much good and knowledge can come out of these projects when children work towards them. Great hub!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Lurana - I completely understand. I cried several times while writing it. I had a terrific opportunity to attend a week long intensive workshop at the USHMM in Washington in January, all expenses paid. They worked us hard -- as they should have have. The focus was the Memorials and Monuments to the Holocaust. We studied and talked about the Children's Memorial. So this is the first paper/hub I have written based on that week's study and research, Hopefully, there will be more to come. Thank you for commenting and sharing. Take care. Theresa


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

It would be wonderful to visit this memorial and perhaps meet some of the people involved. Maybe they will have an anniversary celebration of some sort and we can plan to meet there "one day" when things slow down…

I can't express my thanks for your work to get this posted and help get the word out about this memorial's story. The people involved are to be commended, but the impact of what they have done could continue to speak to society(ies) long after their names are no longer remembered by a living person. It is important to highlight the memorial and I am looking forward to continuing to share the news of it thanks to your efforts here.


AnnaCia profile image

AnnaCia 3 years ago

Hi. Thank you for writing such a powerful and interesting hub. I have read many books regarding the Holocaust, its survivors, the victims and even the crazinest mind of Jitler and his followers. I have visited the Holocaust museum in Washingtone D.C. several times due to research I was doing on criminal minds and the minds of survivors. I bought there a book entitled: "…I never saw another Butterfly…". This is a collection of drawings and poems from Terezin Concentration Camp by children. Another one that is a powerful and oldest publication (1994) about the man's insane and gruesome inhuman acts by man to man. Difficult words to read, difficult pictures and stories, but all unbelievable. Thank you phdast for writing about such a complex topic.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This was a fabulous project and the turnout and assistance was most impressive. This is what I mean by all of us as people coming together for the good of all. Governments cannot do it, only we can reach out with our hearts to each other to finally achieve world peace.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I appreciate your comments avian. I too, was extremely impressed (moved really) by all the people who worked so hard (together) to bring this project to fruition. If they can do it, we can all do it, and should do it for causes and issues that we care about. :) Theresa


Marcia Ours 3 years ago

What a touching thing for these students and schools to be doing. I am really impressed!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello suzette - How wonderful that what they did really has led to other schools getting involved. I think it is incredible that their projects and research are actually in the museum. Sounds like the Whitwell school has influenced people well beyond Tennessee. And how did I not know about any of this?? Hope your week is getting off to a good start. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Marcia - You and me both. I was just amazed when I first heard about them. Thanks for reading and commenting. Theresa


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Theresa: Naples did this project at least ten years ago, if not more. Public education (K-12) in this nation is not original nor that creative. Most of it is canned and repeated throughout the nation. While I admire the teachers, principal and students this idea did not originate in Tennessee. I'm sure it has been repeated in other cities also. It probably did not originate in Naples either. Naples also has a German holocaust victim that gives tours and talks to children and schools about her first hand knowledge of that time period. Because of core curriculum and standardized tests, education in this country has become the same all over. It is sad but the truth. There is not much innovation any longer.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

suzette - Whitfeld began their project in 1999 and completed it in 2001, so twelve years ago. I left this out of the hub, but in one of the sources I looked at, it does mention that the vice-principal came back from an "educational conference" all excited and with information about how to introduce the holocaust into the classroom. His focus on the Holocaust just happened to dovetail with the principal's concern about how to teach diversity in such a non-diverse school.

You are right of course, across the nation K-12 education is very rigidly structured, so it makes perfect sense that many educators across the country attended the same state/national educational programs and received the same training and written materials as the Whitfeld vice-principal. I would love to know more about the Memorials that were created in other places. It would be fascinating to see how they are the same and how they differ, and I bet a big factor would be the involvement of "survivors or even liberating veterans." I would love to do a hub about each of them. I may do a literature search.

It is sad that there is so little innovation. I drive 45 minutes twice a day t work at a small Liberal Arts University. And there are probably eight secondary schools within 10-20 minutes of my house - so friends and family have asked me why I don't try to get a job at one of them. My answer to them is always the same, just like you mentioned above, "because of core curriculum and standardized tests." :( Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

RT - What a great idea. I will look into it and see what the school or town might have planned. And for some of us (close enough) to meet there one day would be terrific. I appreciate your thanks and encouragement....I am just so grateful for the opportunity I had last January to spend a week in DC at the Holocaust Museum. That's where I learned about this school and their project. This is the first thing I have written based on my studies and research in DC. I just couldn't find the time during my teaching semester, but I hope to do more over the summer. And thank you somuch for sharing and spreading the word about the student's project. Blessings! Theresa


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 years ago from Texas

Wow. It is hard to imagine that this is the first time even hearing about a project such as this. It's touching, thought-provoking, shocking, and inspirational.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello AnnaCia - So sorry it took me so long to respond,- lots of mini crises among my friends and family. Thank you so much for your comments. I am glad the story seems powerful, it is to me and I wanted to be able to convey that to others. You have had quite a bit of experience in this area yourself, with your research on criminal minds and survivors. I know the books you are referring to. It if fortunate there is so much documentation of th Holocaust, otherwise we could not possibly believe that these stories are true. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi shanmarie - i was incredibly surprised when I first heard about the Children's Holocaust Project -- and I live in Georgia and school is next door in Tennessee. Thank you for reading and commenting - it is indeed an inspirational story. Hope you are having gret week. Theresa


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

Wonderful Hub Phdast. A very Enjoyable "Happy Read".

I had read about this awhile back and also saw a Documentary called, "Six Million Paper Clips".

The Holocaust should NEVER be forgotten.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you b.Malin - So there is a documentary? I had wondered about that. All I had to go by were a couple of books. Thank you so much for your generous comments. Hope your week goes well. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

There is innovation left in education, individual teachers bring new projects and ways of teaching into their classrooms everyday. New or not, this project was phenomenal in it's scope. The entire town, then across the country and across the world to Germany. A true combination of effort and interest in a very worthy and educational cause.

I have a feeling these children learned more than about the Holocaust and the tragedy and misery it brought, they learned of the desire of people to help people no matter what the cause, someone just needs to take the first step. Thanks for bringing this to light.

Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, and interesting oh, and shared.


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

This is the most beautiful story! I think it is a testament to human beings and the wonderful things that can occur through our children. Blessings to them and to us all!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Theresa, an amazing story!...six million is just a number, but those children and all the people who got involved in this project, managed to put it into perspective. The struggle to acquire six million paper clips demonstrated to us all, least we forget; the sheer magnitude of the holocaust. Maybe there is hope for us yet. An incredible read. Up and sharing.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Mary - Sometimes it is hard to find, but I think you are right, there is innovation left and truly caring and creative teachers, as well. I agree, they learned so much more than they would have just sitting in a classroom and reading through a chapter on the History of the Holocaust. You are very welcome, when I learned about Whitwell back in January I made myself a not to write about it once the shool semester was over, so I did. Thank you for your comments and votes and sharing. Theresa


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

its easy to see the word "million" and not think too hard about it. visualizing those paper clips made me think of the enormity of the slaughter that occurred in those concentration camps. terrific hub


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Theater girl - I appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub as it means a great deal to me. It is indeed an inspiring and beautiful story. I hope to visit their memorial some day. :)


vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

This is amazing, and I never knew about this memorial! I taught about the Holocaust briefly to 7th grade students back in 2005. They learned so much from the experience. It is a real part of our history and we should be teaching it. Thank you for sharing this!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Jo - It is a wonderful and unbelievable story and I found out today the school and memorial is a little over two hours north of me...and I never knew! I think demonstrating the "magnitude" was such an important part of what the teachers accomplished. Also the faculty's tenacity. They taught and involved four years of eighth graders before the Memorial officially opened, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. And today every Friday morning the current eighth graders take turns leading tours and serving as "docents." I am so proud of them. Maybe there is hope.... Thank you so much for commenting and sharing. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

mercury (not that you asked, but I like Hermes better) I grew up familiar with the Greek names for the gods and goddesses and I was sorely disappointed when I found out that most people were familiar with the names given to the gods and goddesses by the "derivative" Romans - end of ridiculous and unimportant digression.

The "large number" conundrum affects us in a lot of ways. what do the numbers of our national debt and budget really mean to us? They are incomprehensible. We have no valid frame of reference. And the same is so true of any war and certainly the Holocaust. What is 11 million? What is 1 million? I think collecting five and then eleven million paper clips was a brilliant teaching strategy. It was a privilege writing about their project. Thanks for the comments and encouraging words. Hope all is well. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello vandy - First, thank you for teaching the Holocaust to our 7th graders. It is not always easy to do, but it is important, and the students can learn so much if it is handled properly. Second, amazingly Whitwell is only a two hour drive from me and I knew next to nothing about the project until I went to a Holocaust workshop this past January. I am always glad to hare and than you so much for reading and commenting.


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Theresa, interesting digression! I didn't think that was ridiculous or unimportant at all. Truth be told, I prefer the classic Hermes to the derivative Mercury and the Greeks to the Romans. But, I have this idea that America = Romans, Europe = Greeks. So, I felt more honest choosing Mercury as a moniker. I also wanted to experiment and maybe even fool around a little, so I thought that parallel to Hg was fitting for what I wanted to do. One thing I aim to do is to take messages from the gods (academica) and try to translate it for the people... while also injecting as many ridiculous and unimportant digressions as possible. Right now I'm content with playing the archetypal role of the seeker or the jester, while leaving people who are more qualified (such as yourself) to play the sage. I think we're both on the same page though, because we're both using creativity to bring meaning to our lives. Cheers,

Alex


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

This was wonderful to read. What these children did was wonderful. Some people deny the holocaust ever happened. Teaching children about history is one of the most important things we can ever do. Remember the quote "if you forget history, it will repeat itself" or something like that.

Reading this almost made me cry. Thank you so much


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michelle - Thank you so much. I found the children and their project incredibly inspiring. Hopefully what they and other schools have done will convince some of the deniers and certainly it will help educate the rest of us. Speaking of crying, I did while I was working on it. You are very welcome and thank you for reading and commenting. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good morning Alex. Good, you found it interesting too! I have some friends who roll their eyes when any discussion of mythology or language comes up. :) And you are course, not wrong at all, an American audience does understand and relate to Mercury and 90% have never heard of Hermes, or at least think they haven't (although they probably know the word hermaphrodite). The archetypal role of the seeker or jester is more suited to what you write and how you think about what you write. Good choice.

I am sure that as an American, I would be more familiar with the Roman pantheon, except (this bears out your formula above quite nicely) for my Polish/European grandmother who gave me a magnificent book on Greek Mythology when I was 10, just before my father was transferred to Athenai AFB in Greece. The serendipity and timing of those two events shaped my intellectual and creative interests, not surprisingly. I am content to play the sage - it suits me I suppose. :) Creativity = meaning as opposed to the more typical wealth = everything. I like it. Have a great weekend. Theresa


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Theresa,

I am deeply moved. My heartlfelt admiration goes out to Sandra Roberts and the students of Whitewell Elementary School.

Voted up +++ and sharing

Have a good weekend. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Sue -

I was very impressed and touched by what these teachers and students did, well really, the whole town. They certainly derserve our admiration and appreciation. They are only about 2 1/2 hours north of me, so I plan to go visit them sometime soon. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and sharing.

Hope your week started off well. Mine did. Two classes of energetica and interested students (sometimes summer students are very quiet and passive and so DON"T want to be there).. Its like I have died and gone to heaven. :)

Theresa)


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

A great tribute to life you have written. Ingenious.

Had to look this quote up since it was the first thing I thought of. King James version.

Psalms 8:2: Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello tireless - Thank you for reading and commenting. That is a wonderful and meaningful verse and so app;icable to the children of Whitwell Elementary. Blessings. Theresa


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Gosh, thank you so much for an awareness here. Blessings for writing and sharing something to help us feel good.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

I hope you will have a chance to visit Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. The last exhibit in the museum is a child's shoe that was found in the Treblinka concentration camp on the day of its liberation by Soviet troops. There were piles and piles of "little shoes" in the camp. At the museum, it is the last exhibit.

I am glad you wrote this article about the million children who were murdered. May the world never forget them.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello rebecca - You are so very welcome. I was both impressed and moved myself when I first heard about the Whitwell student's project. And you are absolutely right, it is a feel-good story as well. Since I wrote it, a number of people have shared that a similar project either has been done or is about to be don in their community...which is just wonderful. I hope your week is going well. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Writer Fox - Thank you for reading and commenting. I would love to visit Yad Vashem one day. I can imagine the final exhibit of one small shoe is incredibly powerful, although everything I have read says that Yad Vashem is a powerful and impressive memorial-museum.

I have been fortunate to visit a handful of memorials and Museums, as part of historical research trips, but I would like to see many more. They are all different and yet each tells important truths. This past January I spent a week at a USHMM conference/workshop that focused on Memory, Monuments, and Memorialization. I have amassed quite a collection of books and hope to write several papers on the subject in the near future. Thanks again for commenting.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Thank you so much for sharing this Theresa--I had not heard of this before--but this helps me feel that we go on thinking about these lives and the loss to all people that this brought--


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Audrey - The school is in Tennessee and I am in Georgia and I had never heard of it until six months ago. That is one reason I wanted to write about it, but mainly because I am so impressed with those students and teachers, well, with everyone involved. Hope things are well with you. :) Theresa


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

This and similar projects, no matter how small, serve to make history come alive, and we both know how difficult that can be. Without such efforts our youth complain that "History is boring!" The gifted teachers in this instance helped history to become anything but boring and achieved their stated goals, and then some! You did a wonderful service by Hubbing this one (together with many others that Hub readers can profit from reading.) Time well spent and the sort of service you cited in your comment on "A Haiku - Religiosity." Thanks.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

They were indeed very gifted and dedicated teachers, as it took a long time for the children's vision to be realized. And of course they needed lots of help and encouragement along the way. I have been so encouraged to read about more and more projects such as this one that do indeed make history come alive for our young people. Thank you for your thoughtful and generous comments. Blessings.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago

Hey sweet lady , Awesome hub [as usual], I missed this one somehow , Amazing kids ! Is America not the greatest place in the world to have children so motivated by the beauty of their own hearts ? As a keen observer of human nature I am always stunned by the beauty ,on one hand, and the ugliness on the other , Those that actually would deny that the holocaust existed . It is perhaps always the children that rekindle my faith in the goodness and purity of humanity ........Nice to see you ...Ed


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Visited Yad Besham in Jerusalem last week. The children's part of the museum nearly did me in. The room is dark; candles create a star for each child who died. The name and age of each child is read. It takes six months to read the names before the list is repeated.- The news papers from the 1930s I read could have come straight from any paper or news report today. -So glad you wrote this hub.-


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Theresa - I'm so glad this one was shared again because I missed it the first time around. 'Awesome' is a word that' overused these days, but it describes the students' (and, eventually, the entire town's) dedication to the Holocaust project. 'Inspirational' is another appropriate descriptor. I type this as I wipe away my tears.

The achievement of these children illustrates their heartfelt acceptance of the lesson of tolerance. This story is even more amazing because I've been reading about the indoctrination of children to hatred by the ISIL in the Middle East, and my heart aches for the sacrifice of those children's innocence and compassion to a barbaric extremist ideology. This world needs more love, compassion and tolerance--not more hatred.

Wonderful article, Theresa! Voted Up++++ and shared

Jaye


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Ed - Thank you for such encouraging and affirming comments. This piece meant a lot to me - I was so impressed with all the students and their teachers. Children do indeed rekindle our faith. Work has been keeping me so busy. I miss the collegiality and friendship on HP. I miss you. I must find more time to read and write. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

tireless - Thank you, I am glad I wrote it too. I have never been there, but I imagine it was quite an experience. You describe it very well - the children's area must have been heart-rending. So sad that the papers are still filled with tragic news. Take care. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jaye - Crazy semester and I hope things will soon slow down. Thank you for your wonderfil comments. I, too, was so impressed and moved by the efforts of the teachers, students, community, and various governments and agencies, not to mention the thousands of people who sent paper clips. Theirs was an amazing feat. Such persistence! And thank you for such encouraging words. :)

What is happening to children under ISIL is a great tragedy. We can only hope and pray that other influences will help heal these children and restore them morally and spiritually. What a terrible thing they are doing.

Well, back to grading papers. I hope you are doing well and emjoyingthis weather as I am. Blessings! Theresa


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

What a wonderful lesson for the young people and adults as well in Whitwell. A lesson that will no doubt remain with them throughout their lives.

This was a horrific time in history and one all should know of so that we never forget. (I have written about children during this time as well.)

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Voted up and shared ps


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 20 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is a great article. I think of the Christlike attributes of the townspeople involved and their willingness to participate in something far removed from their lives and it brings me to tears. They embody the value of loving our neighbor without regard to who that neighbor may be.

Thanks for sharing this article. I feel the spirit of God in the support the people of that small Tennessee town devoted to the memory of millions of minorities who perished in the deluded pride of madmen and women.

I celebrate the German people, companies and institutions for taking unexpected and humble efforts to support the school in honoring those victims who are a testimony of the cruelty of desperate people even though in doing so it reminds the world of the blight on German history.

Again you have done great work as I have come to know.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 19 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Patricia - I thought it was an amazing experience and lesson for the students, too. How else to understand such a great number, such a great loss? I am so proud of, and greatefull to, the Whitwell school and community. Blessings!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 19 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good afternoon Rodric. They really did demonstrate Christian values didn't they? I was so glad to share their story as it deeply touched me as well. I remember crying tears of joy and sadness when I first read about what they had done. And it is a great testimony that various German people and groups were willing to assist them. Thank you for you're always encouraging comments. Many Blessings! Theresa


mary615 profile image

mary615 19 months ago from Florida

Words just escape me as I read this Hub. I was moved to tears just remembering the Holocaust and the fate of the Jews. This happened in my lifetime, and I can vividly remembering listening to the news on the radio, and all the articles I read in Life magazine. Even as a child, I would cry for all those innocent people.

This was a wonderful project. So many children now have never even heard of this horrible even, and I think that is so sad.

Voted up, etc. and shared.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 18 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Mary - It was a wonderful project. I was so impressed with the teachers, students, the townspeople, those who helped them overseas. They did a marvelous job. I too was brought to tears several times while reading the book. Thanks for leaving such encouraging comments. Theresa

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working