Each victim had a name and family...
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The central piece of our museum at Herring Cove Junior High was our paper clip collection. It was comprised of some 100 000 paper clips hung from our ceilings in chains. Each paper clip represented a soul lost in the Holocaust, of which there were some six million. The students who worked on this, through extrapolation, got a very good understanding of just how large this number is.
The students of Herring Cove Junior High and five other schools in the Halifax area decided to combine efforts in taking this human rights abuse story to the public: we took part of the museum on the road (on tour). On October 29, 2008, we went to Citadel Hill, a large defensive structure in the centre of the city of some 300 000 inhabitants. The circumference of Citadel Hill is approximately 2 kms. Herring Cove Junior High brought the 100 000 paper clips from their museum and joined them to the other paper clips brought by the other schools. Within one hour, some 250 students had attached 100 000 paper clips. This amount went around the base (circumference) of the Citadel one time. Students were again able to extrapolate that in order to represent all six million victims of the Holocaust, we would have to circle the Citadel 60 times!! The amount of loss now become much more clear to them.
The estimated number of paper clips at Citadel Hill that day was 250 000. This was possible because of the efforts of Prince Andrew High School, J. L. Ilsley High School, Gorsebrook Junior High, Sacred Heart School of Halifax, and the Maritime Hockey Academy.
Also present was Philip Riteman, a survivor of 7 death camp experiences, including Auschwitz. He was joined by Edith Gelbard, (a child hidden in a French town from the Nazis), who very much wanted to see what we were doing. There were also people in attendance who lost relatives in the death camps. Additionally, a member of our provincial legislature, and many well wishers made their presence known. Those who were curious asked my students what was happening, and what the five ribbons of different colours on the chain represented. At this point, my students became the teachers and described one of 5 case studies from the Holocaust that we had learned in class and that we linked to the coloured ribbons: Janusz Korczak, Philip Riteman (a survivor of Auschwitz), Max Kolbe, Anne Frank, and a fifth one researched by students individually.
The media found this event very interesting and came to cover it. I am including some of this coverage so that you can get a feeling for what we did.
The media clips are too large to send to you (I tried) so I am sending you instead the links. Go to the following site and click on the files under the heading, “Holocaust Museum on the Road.”
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