Students Confront Holocaust

Allegra M.'s project

In a powerful unit of study, eleventh grade Humanities students grapple with the horrors of the Holocaust through research, reading, and moving creative projects. The students spend several weeks studying the historical event and interpreting and processing what they have learned through art.

"The human story is at the heart of why it's important to learn about the Holocaust," says Humanities teacher Sarah Porter. "Instead of having the project be analytical or something you can distance yourself from, the idea is to invite yourself to enter into the story in some way."

Students are allowed to choose any media for their project. They are required to submit a short paper describing their piece and their reasons behind the design.

Junior Allegra M. built a cabinet that she spray-painted black and chalked with 220 yellow hashmarks to symbolize the loss of 11 million lives. She researched 14 Holocaust victims, summarized each one’s story, and placed each story with a photo inside a different drawer in the cabinet.

"I think the lives of people are what we should remember from the Holocaust, as opposed to just the dark period of history," says Allegra. Her project demonstrated what many of the students' Holocaust projects contend with: how to emphasize the dignity of Holocaust victims in the face such dehumanizing circumstances. "We can learn from history,” says Allegra, “but I want to remember the people and their stories."

More photos of other projects can be seen below.