Feelings about the International Holocaust Day Jan27th, 2012

"The 2012 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust will focus on the theme “Children and the Holocaust”. The United Nations will remember the one-and-a-half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, together with the thousands of Roma and Sinti children, the disabled and others, who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Some children managed to survive in hiding, others fled to safe havens before it was too late, while many others suffered medical experiments or were sent to the gas chambers immediately upon arriving at the death camps. 

Dedicated to my Mom Sonia Welis Frenkel (God rest her soul)  Butterfly by Sonia's grandson: Matt Chateauneuf


Yesterday was the International Holocaust Memorial Day and the theme this year is children. For the last week I had been up having nightmares and working so hard to organize an event on Facebook; an idea I had never used before. To my amazement we have almost 160 people who joined and I believe the list will continue to grow.You can see it here. Please join and show support.


I am the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. My mother Sonia Frenkel was a survivor of Majdanek, one of the harshest concentration camps in Poland, and Auschwitz as well. Before passing away in 1991, she requested that I teach the next generation about the Holocaust. It was important to her that the young learn about the Holocaust. I wanted to honor my mother’s request and go a step further.  I decided to educate the young about the Holocaust by promoting tolerance among children around the world. I wanted to personalize this unit as possible so that younger students could learn about some of the victims and hear other views without dwelling on the horrors. My goal was to also create something new and innovative in the teaching of the Holocaust that would coincide with curriculum usage. While it was personally difficult, I felt it was a task I had to undertake.

Last year the United Nations declared an International Day for Holocaust Remembrance.  This motivated me even more to involve as many educators in my project as possible. As a result, children from many different countries participated in our Holocaust Unit and contributed wonderful materials for everyone’s benefit around the world. At the same time there were educational benefits, they increased reading, writing, and thinking skills creating or using games, puzzles and the other included activities.

         Using the power of the Internet, it has been possible to develop an international project, Globaldreamers. http://www.globaldreamers.org

 Over the last fifteen  years, this project has inspired children to take a deeper look at the world by exploring, and exchanging ideas. Additionally, it has encouraged cross-cultural communication and attempted to promote global understanding. 

When building the unit, my wish was to offer learning materials to educators as well as students. Teachers have been able to use the online activities to enhance learning in their classrooms.

The site includes a list of websites for research. This helps  the children as well as the educators.

Since children learn in diversified ways, our site allows the students to express themselves in various ways.  For example, some children choose to express themselves through the arts; others through acrostic poems or narrative pieces.

Ein Ganim Elementary School has a yearly National Holocaust Memorial Day.  Through our site, my students have the opportunity to share their feelings, thoughts, and knowledge regarding the Holocaust with others.  Our school ceremony is highlighted.  Again, the emphasis is on the personal aspect of the event.   For example, the children explain how it feels on Holocaust Day during the siren what signals a moment of silence for the victims.  Other children from around the world are invited to share and write about their feelings after reading about our ceremony.

This kind of authentic learning has a strong impact on everyone involved. The children set an example for their friends around the world. They act as ambassadors and share their experience. This sharing of ideas as seen through the eyes of children is one I am sure will affect and remain with them forever.

The influence that teachers have on their students is vital for the future.  Teaching is more than imparting facts and figure.   In order for children to gain a new insight about the Holocaust, it is my generation’s responsibility to educate the next generation so that they will remember. Only with that knowledge will history never repeats itself.

        It is important that students learn to distinguish between tolerance and intolerance.  They must also be taught that it is their responsibility to speak out whenever intolerance is present.  Our site is dedicated to this mission.  With the exchange of ideas and dreams, children learn that we all share common experiences.  There are lessons to be learned from the atrocities of the past.  The most important concept is that we are all human beings.   My goal for all children is that they respect others and are never quick to judge another.  When a child reads another child’s story about a pet or a favorite holiday, international divisions cease to exist for that child.   If we can continue to accomplish that through our work, then the world be a better place for our children with less hatred and more love.

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