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PWMS 7th grade AIG students remember the children who died during the Holocaust

As a part of the study of the book, Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, the seventh grade AIG classes spent a day remembering the 1.5 million Jewish children who died as a result of the Holocaust. This day of remembrance began as the seventh grade traveled to the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte where they participated in a Butterfly Project workshop. The Butterfly Project was started in San Diego in 2006 as a way to remember the Jewish children who lost their lives because of Hitler’s rise to power. The goal of the project is to make sure that the horror of the Holocaust never happens again, by educating today’s children about discrimination and the progression that follows if it is left unchecked.
To begin the day, the students met with Holocaust survivor, Suly Chenko. She told her story of survival to a spellbound audience of Parkwood students. Ms. Chenko was only six months old when her family was forcibly moved from their house and resettled in the ghetto. She described her life growing up in the Jewish ghetto and the harrowing escape in a potato sack into the arms of a very brave woman who became her foster mother. She also described the reunion with her parents who also survived the Holocaust.
After a question and answer session with Ms. Chenko, the classes heard the stories of more Holocaust survivors. More importantly, the students learned the necessity of standing against discrimination. Then they went to the workroom where their butterflies were waiting. On the table in front of each student was a ceramic butterfly on a paper plate. On top of each butterfly was a certificate that had the name of a child who died as the result of the Holocaust. The leader explained the importance of the names in this way, “Names are used as a way to make us special, one of a kind. The Nazis tried to take that away. If I asked you to remember the names of all 1.5 million Jewish children who died, it would be impossible. If I ask you to remember the name of one Jewish child, that becomes much easier. This is a way to ensure that someone remembers each of those children.” Each student was allowed to paint a butterfly as a memorial to their special child. These butterflies will remain at the Jewish Community Center where they may become part of the butterfly sculpture that is found in The Margaret and Lou Schwartz Butterfly Garden. The students then went out to the butterfly garden for a time of reflection and remembrance.
This was a wonderful trip for the students. Not only did they learn about the Holocaust, they also learned about how discrimination and a culture of exclusivity can be turned into a culture of acceptance and peace. They learned the importance of standing up for others simply because it is the right thing to do.
For more information visit http://www.charlottejcc.org/webpage-directory/butterfly-project/butterfly-project-participation/ or e-mail Dana Kapustin at butterflyproject@charlottejcc.org

Written by: Connie Trowbridge and Darleen Morris
Posted: Oct 06, 2014 by Lisa Chapman

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