Holocaust Studies

Remembering the past
This is the image for the news article titled Remembering the pastPictured at left, senior Alexis Dixon stands with Holocaust survivor Henry Schneider.

Upperclassmen enrolled in the Holocaust Studies semester course traveled to the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill to learn more about the era and the hideous agenda of the Nazis. They were accompanied by teacher Timothy Patsko.

The Holocaust is defined as the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire."  The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and the Jews were deemed "inferior." Like the Jews, other groups were persecuted during the regime based on political, ideological and behavioral grounds.

While at the Holocaust Center, students viewed The Butterfly Project, an art exhibit of ceramic butterflies to symbolize the lives of children, nearly 1.5 million, lost during the Nazi regime.  Students were also fortunate to hear from 80-year old survivor Harry Schneider who shared his story. "I was told to stay alive so I could tell the world of the atrocities that took place," said Schneider.  Schneider's family escaped the war camps by fleeing to the dense forests of Poland and later crossing into Russia. Born just outside of Warsaw, he was two-years-old when German soldiers visited his home and burned it to the ground.

After viewing artifacts from the Holocaust and watching a documentary of a survivor who is now 107-years-old, the students hopped on the bus to travel several blocks to the Holocaust memorial, Keeping Tabs.

Keeping Tabs is a collection of six million can tabs collected over an 18-year period. The tabs represent the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The sculpture, made of 960 glass blocks, stands nine feet high and spans 45 feet in width. Each glass block contains 6,250 tabs. From the air, the sculpture is intended to portray a segmented Star of David.

The memorial was designed in collaboration with nearby Community Day School.  A contest was held in the school to determine the unique design of the sculpture. The finished project was completed and dedicated in 2013.

Butterfly Project
Students view the Butterfly Project exhibit at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

Survivor Listening to Holocaust survivor Henry Schneider.

Artifacts Viewing artifacts from the war camps

Keeping Tabs
The Keeping Tabs Memorial

Memorial From the air, the sculpture is a segmented Star of David

Each glass block contains 6,250 can tabs.

Students at Memorial
Keeping Tabs docent (in red coat) explains the history of the memorial.

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