This year’s theme for the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center’s Jacob Friedman Writing and Art Contest was “With My Own Eyes: As a student of the Holocaust, you are now a witness.” Below are some of the winners, judged on submissions from all around Washington State.
First place, 5th–6th grade writing
“Just as Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote in ‘Night’ that ‘anyone who does not remember (the dead) betrays them again,’ Borowski too commented on the duty we are faced with in the eyes of hatred, injustice, or persecution. Namely, we are to act. To do something, anything, to raise one’s head up and yell, ‘stop this madness’…for the sake of humanity; for the sake of how we wish to be remembered long after we’re gone.”
—Madison Gruenig, Finch Elementary School, Spokane. 6th Grade.
1st Place, 5th/6th Grade Art
Carl Schildkraut, Congregation Kol Ami, Woodinville.
Third place, 7th–8th grade writing
“Injustice simply means lack of justice. Often it is carried out by taking rights away from people. The Holocaust is not the only instance of injustice. It has happened throughout history. Examples include events like South African Apartheid (1948-1994), Indian Removal Act (1830), Japanese internment (1942-1944) and segregation of non-whites in America (1900s–late 1960s), to name a few. Injustice can be caused by several social factors like jealousy, paranoia and anger. One thing society can do to combat injustice is have equality, justice and racial tolerance taught in schools, so that future generations are less prone to repeat the same mistakes.”
—Ehmer Anwar Taj, Beaver lake Middle School, Issaquah. 8th Grade.
2nd Place, 7th–8th Grade Art
Sarah Turner, Meridian Middle School, Kent.
Second place, 9th–12th grade writing
“There is a reason we all have had a chance to step into Elie Wiesel’s shoes. It is not just to gain more knowledge of the Holocaust, but to gain knowledge and awareness that we can step up and no longer be bystanders as we watch another person or ourselves be hurt and persecuted by someone else. Having read his story gives me the choice to not be the same person I was before, oblivious to others around me; instead I can be a ‘Juliek.’ Someone who is secure in myself and will not give up who I am for anyone. Not taking that forward step is just as bad as being a perpetrator. I have witnessed hatred and to not do something would put me in denial. I was given a voice for a reason, and it is my obligation to testify and share what I have learned from Elie Wiesel’s testimony, so another person is able to find the light at the end of the tunnel, just as I have.”
—Emily Hensler, Spanaway Lake High School, Spanaway. 10th Grade.
1st Place, 9th–12th Grade Art:
Aliyah Steiner, Redmond High School, Redmond.