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Yom Hashoah, Day of Remembrance

Posted on April 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Today, all over the world, people of all faiths and cultures are observing Yom Hashoah, the annual Day of Remembrance for those who perished in the Holocaust. Yom is Hebrew for “Day” and Hashoah means “of Catasrophe” or “of Destruction.” At the United States Holocaust Museum people sign up to read aloud the names of those who were killed.

All families should pass on to the children an understanding of the Holocaust and the painful realization that our hopes that the sickening inhumanity of what transpired, the systemic effort to exterminate groups based on religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, would itself be enough to prevent future genocide, have not been realized. Good films to begin these discussions include Defiance, the story of a partisan and resistance movement led by three brothers; Conspiracy, a chilling depiction of the meeting of Nazi officers to plan the death camps, and Paper Clips, the story of a small-town school system whose meaningful curriculum transforms the lives of the teachers as well as the students. And don’t forget to watch the new version of The Diary of Anne Frank, premiering tonight on PBS.

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Holidays

Paperclips

Posted on June 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

A
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Discussion of Holocaust and some images of concentration camps
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: 2004
Date Released to DVD: 2005
Amazon.com ASIN: B000CMNJF4

The tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last week reminds us yet again of the importance of making sure that future generations do not just learn the statistics but truly understand the near-incomprehensible devastation of genocide and the toxic tragedy of bigotry.
The documentary Paper Clips is one every family should watch. It is the story of Whitwell, Tennessee, a small coal mining community (population 1600) outside of Chatanooga. The population is almost entirely white and entirely Christian. When the local school set out to teach children about tolerance and diversity, the teachers realized that most of the children had never seen a person from another country or faith. So the school decided to teach students about the Holocaust in Germany during World War II.
As the students tried to come to grips with the Nazi genocide, they had a hard time visualizing the magnitude of the loss of six million people. They wanted to collect six million of something to represent the people who were killed.
The students did some research and learned that the paperclip was invented in Norway and that Norwegians wore paperclips on their collars to demonstrate their sympathy for the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and other groups being persecuted by the Nazis. The students decided to collect six million paperclips and began writing letters to everyone they could think of to ask for help.
This documentary shows how the project grew from a classroom assignment to an event that transformed the entire community.

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