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Porter Ridge Holocaust teacher remembers the Holocaust

These are the shoes of Majdanek. "This particular picture was one of the toughest moments for me on the trip. These are the shoes of victims who perished in the Holocaust. Even though I saw many shoes at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and Auschwitz, these shoes could be touched," commented Smith.

Students in Kathryn Smith’s Remember the Holocaust classes are in for quite a surprise this year. This summer Smith took part in a program geared toward teachers who teach Holocaust studies in their classrooms.

As a result of this program, Smith now has a closer connection to the events that took place during WWII thanks to a trip organized by The Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers Program.

“It’s quite difficult to describe this trip in a manner that can do it justice. This experience went above and beyond my expectations. No amount of preparation could prepare me for this,” said Smith.

The trip with 31 teachers from the U.S. began with a visit to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The group then traveled to Frankfurt, Germany and over the course of the next 15 days, they visited 4 of the 6 killing centers including the notorious Auschwitz and Birkenau. The group also visited many of the concentration camps.

“I went to 4 of the 6 killing centers and every single one was haunting...I’ve made it a point to try and drive this home for my students. I want them to know that 11 million cannot just be a statistic; instead, they were people just like you and I,” said Smith recalling what she witnessed while at the killing centers.

Smith is thankful for being allowed to take part in this trip where she was able to learn more about a subject she is so passionate about. Thanks to the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors the cost of the trip is kept low for educators. Smith also mentioned that she received a stipend from the Jewish Federation of Charlotte to help offset the cost of the trip.

For more information about The Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Program visit www.hajrtp.org. For more information about Smith's personal account, you can visit her blog at www.ksmithholocausttrip.weebly.com

Written by: Will LeGrand, 12th grade student
Posted: Sep 11, 2014 by Regina Snelson

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