Visual Arts and Literacy contest


The Amud Aish Memorial Museum’s (Amud Aish) Kleinman Holocaust Education Center division has launched its third annual Student Visual Arts and Literacy Contest, Born to Live: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust. Open to students in grades six through 12, this year’s contest focuses on children who lived through the Holocaust and the items they took with them when they escaped or were sent to a ghetto.

There are six items that students can respond to in their entries: the Michelsohn letter, what may have been a father’s last words to his son when he escaped on a Kindertransport; the Lonner tehilim (Book of Psalms), a mother and father’s last gift to their son; the Horowitz challah cover, carefully embroidered by a sister who was later murdered; the Kirshner doll, a child’s sole connection to home while in hiding; the Felsenburg wallet, full of receipts from parcels a son sent to his doomed parents; and the Ettlinger shoe from a toddler who escaped with his family.

To enter, students may write a poem or a letter to one of the children—sharing personal connections, observations, and questions; or, they may create a work of art reflecting on the child’s life and the cherished item. Submit entries one of two ways: Mail entry to Amud Aish Memorial Museum, Atth: Kleinman Holocaust Education Center, 5923 Strickland Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11234; email in Word doc or PDF with a cover page to The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2017.

“This year’s contest allows students to see the Holocaust through the eyes of the children who survived. These ordinary objects—a letter, a wallet, a doll—speak of extraordinary circumstances as they were precious to the children who were fortunate to make it through. We invite teachers to book a field trip to our museum to see many of the items we’ve featured in the contest and learn more about what it was like to be a child in hiding during the Holocaust,” said Julie Golding, director of Education.

The title of the contest, Born to Live, is taken from a poem written by Rabbi Moshe Portman when he was in the Šiauliai Ghetto in Lithuania. In the poem, he laments the plight of the youngest victims of the Holocaust and their unfulfilled potential—that they were born to live a full life, but so many young lives would be cut short. This program is presented in memory of the children who were murdered during the Holocaust and to inspire students to fulfill the potential in their own lives.

“Our annual contest is a favorite among teachers because it offers a perspective they may not explore in the classroom. Because Amud Aish is now in possession of significant artifacts and archives from the period—those that help tell the full story of what happened before, during, and immediately after the Holocaust—we are able to create educational opportunities that weren’t available even a few years ago. It’s important that we make these items accessible to students so that future generations can learn about what happened,” said Rabbi Sholom Friedmann, director of Amud Aish.

The contest is sponsored by Meridian Capital Group, LLC, The Jewish Press, and The ArtScroll Library. Students will be judged by grade groups: grades six through eight; grades nine and 10; and grades 11 and 12. Grand prize winners will each receive a $150 Visa gift card, second place winners will each receive a $72 Visa gift card, and third place winners will each receive a $25 Visa gift card. The first 80 participating teachers will receive a copy of The Youngest Partisan by A. Romi Cohn.


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