Our Stories

Sixth Grade Students Invited to Display Art about the Holocaust at Community Commemoration

April 20, 2016 by Shifra Chelst (Faculty and Staff)

A fishbowl, half-filled with dirt, with a paper butterfly inside. Taped around the outside of the fishbowl: the poem “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” which we read during our 5th grade Holocaust study.

A tube of golf balls, 6 yellow for the Jews, 5 others in various colors for the gays, Jehovah’s witnesses and Roma (among others) – each one representing a million people whose lives were cut short and would never play golf, or any other sport, again. 

Miniature walls with quotes from Isaiah or Eicha (Lamentations) like the black wall in the U.S. Holocaust Museum that reads “You are My Witness.”

At the end of our Holocaust unit, and after visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown DC, the Sixth Grade students created their own Holocaust memorials to encapsulate their Holocaust studies and express the most important messages that they wish to memorialize. The memorials, each around the size of a shoebox, incorporate art, poetry, photos, objects and quotes to symbolize different aspects of what they have learned and to express the emotions of the messages they choose to share. These, along with pictures, passports and artifacts from family members who lived through this terrible time, are a few of the many beautiful and meaningful projects they have brought in to contain the memories and showcase their commitment to bring the story forward.

This year, JPDS-NC Sixth Graders were invited to display their Holocaust Shoebox Memorials to the greater Washington, DC, community. The students’ representations will be part of the Maryland Yom HaShoah Community Commemoration, which will take place on Sunday, May 1 at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD. Learn more about this community event organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). See our album of Holocaust Shoebox Memorials.