Student Holocaust Writing, Art and Multi-media Contest

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is inviting students in grades 7 through 12 in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys to enter its annual Holocaust Writing, Art, and Multi-Media contest, a project held in conjunction with Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). To be commemorated this academic year on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Yom Hashoah is an internationally recognized day set aside for remembering all victims of the Holocaust and reminding society of what can happen to civilized people when bigotry, hatred, and indifference reign.

The theme for this year’s contest is “Why We Must Remember: Honoring the 75thAnniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.”  As taught by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this year’s theme is a reminder that it is not only important to curse the darkness of the past, but also to illuminate the future and to acknowledge the humanity in all people so that the world can be left in a better place for posterity.

For students in grades 7-12 in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys 

Narrative composition and/or poetry of no more than 1,500 words, submitted in Microsoft Word, double-spaced.

Should demonstrate originality and creative representation of the theme, using paint, crayon, pencil, or other similar media on 8.5 x 11 white paper.

Films should be no more than five minutes, demonstrate originality, and creative representation of the theme, and should be submitted on a flash drive, CD, or electronically.

All entries, whether writing, art or film, must include a title page or label containing the following information: student’s name, grade, home address, and telephone number; school name, address, and telephone number, and teacher’s name.


Monday, April 7, 2020


Although submissions may be mailed, students are strongly encouraged to submit all entries electronically. Writings, art, and film entries may be sent to the Jewish Community Relations Council, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, OH, 44504, or e-mailed to

Gift Card Awards (in various age categories of the three context components

First ($75)

Second ($50)

Third ($25)

Winners will receive awards at the annual Community Yom Hashoah Commemoration Ceremony at noon on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at the Mahoning County Courthouse in Youngstown

All winners plus additional honorable mention recipients will also receive Holocaust-themed books

For more information, call the JCRC at 330.746.3251

About The Liberation of Auschwitz

In 1945, as American, British, and Soviet soldiers moved across Europe in a series of offensives on Germany, they encountered and liberated concentration camp prisoners. Advancing from the east, Soviet forces came upon Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on Jan. 27 where they witnessed unimaginable horrors. In liberating Auschwitz and other Nazi camps, the allies exposed to the world the full breadth of Nazi atrocities, lending urgency to the demands for justice.

Concerned that the world would not believe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted every American to see what was discovered. Eisenhower not only understood the war was a struggle for the freedom of peoples and the ideals on which civilization was based, but also that the horror was so extreme that it might not be believed. Realizing that a failure to believe would be a danger for the future of mankind, he ordered other soldiers to visit the camps and encouraged journalists and Members of Congress to bear witness as well.

Time and distance have not lessened the need to remember and educate future generations how hatred and racism can lead to disastrous effects. The history of the Holocaust raises difficult questions about human behavior and the context within which individual decisions are made. It is crucial not to simplify this history, but to instead seek to convey its many nuances. For example, the word resistance often refers to acts of armed revolt, but during the Holocaust, there were thousands of acts of resistance worth remembering and emulating. These included willful disobedience, the continuation of the practice of religious and cultural traditions in defiance of the rules, the smuggling of messages, food, and weapons, and even the creation of art, music, and poetry inside the camps and ghettos. For many, simply maintaining the will to live in the face of abject brutality was an act of spiritual resistance.

The Holocaust was not inevitable. Just because it was documented in the past does not mean it should not continue to be remembered and the victims honored today in the hope that such an atrocity for will not occur again.

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