The Art & Writing Competition seeks to empower and inspire today’s students to lead our world to a better future. When your students enter the competition, they will practice what it means to step up and start to work towards making changes in the world. It starts with the transformative experience of creating a piece of art or writing, but the message spreads to your students’ families, friends, classmates, and all who will see the winning work on display at The Holocaust Center.
We invite you to share this Competition with your students and incorporate it into your classrooms! Please see our flyer below for suggestions:
5 Teaching TIPS:
- Teach the human story – Identify the characters and show photographs and videos so that your students will see them as real people that lived real lives.
- Focus on choice – What choices did the victims have? What choices did the helpers have? What choices did the perpetrators have? Why might they have made the choices that they did? What consequences did they face?
- Provide historical context – Contextualize the stories by providing background information on what happened before, during, and after.
- Encourage critical thinking – Ask students why they think that Anne, Elie, and Erich’s works are important to read and view today, and what they found most interesting about them.
- Move from thought to action – Ask your students to think about what being a responsible citizen means? What does it look like? Who are we responsible for? What can people do to make a difference?
Student winners in each category, as well as their teachers, will be awarded prizes.
Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most widely read, relatable, accessible, and profound works of literature. Anne Frank was a young girl hidden in Amsterdam during the Holocaust. She was the same age as the students invited to participate in this Competition, which makes her diary relatable to them. Anne’s diary is a good entry point for studying the Holocaust because it humanizes the victims by providing a glimpse into the lives of Anne and her family before, during, and after the Holocaust.
We know what Anne Frank looked like. Her image humanizes the victims of the Holocaust in a way that no other Holocaust artifact can. We know about her life before she went into hiding; we know her private thoughts, feelings, and struggles; and we know how her life came to a tragic end. We also know about her family and friends, the helpers who risked their lives to protect them, and the perpetrators and collaborators whose hatred and indifference caused harm and destruction to millions.
Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, is one of the most common books for students to read. When he was a teenager – the same age as many of the students that read his memoir today– Elie and his family were forced to live in a ghetto, and then were taken from their home and deported to Auschwitz. Elie’s description of an adolescence cut violently short provides students with an opportunity to learn the history of the Holocaust, and a way to connect to a real-life character.
Elie survived the horrors of the Holocaust and dedicated his life to working to creating a better world. He became a professor, wrote numerous books and articles, and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts as a human rights advocate. His life story is not only interesting, but inspiring and empowering, for it reminds us each of our individual and collective potential.
We are pleased to host Holocaust Museum LA’s exhibit, “To Paint is to Live,” which features the works of Holocaust survivor and artist Erich Lichtblau-Leskly. As an inmate at Theresienstadt, Erich created satirical illustrations depicting the humor and sorrow of everyday life in the ghetto using whatever materials he could find. Erich’s art is a visual diary of his and his wife Else’s experiences, creating a contrast with the propaganda photos and film that paint Theresienstadt as a relaxing “spa town” for retirees and the infirm.
Erich’s illustrations demonstrate the poor treatment and persecution Jews experienced in ghettos and camps. Fearing retribution for the content of his art, Erich cut up his pieces and buried them. After the war, Else dug up the pieces to give back to her husband. During the 1970s-80s, Erich redrew all of his pieces in full color, returning to his work as a means of memorializing and recording the history of the Holocaust.
By participating in this Competition, students are using art and writing to take a stand against hate and teach the lessons of the Holocaust to others. Creative expression opens students’ eyes, hearts, and minds are opened to learn lessons and allows them to channel their learning into creative expression. This Competition provides students a space to meaningfully reflect, and gives voice to their thoughts, opinions, and ideas.