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HOW BIG IS SIX MILLION?





THREE NOTABLE MEMORIALS CREATED BY SCHOOLS


THE PAPER CLIP MEMORIAL 
WHITWELL MIDDLE SCHOOL, TENNESSEE, USA

For generations of Whitwell students, 
a paper clip will never again be just a paper clip.  
Instead, the paper clip is a reminder of the importance of 
perseverance, empathy, tolerance and understanding.

Whitwell is a small southeastern town in the state of Tennessee in the United States of about It has about 1,600 residents.   No Jews lived amongst them.  

Out of the 425 students that attend the school, there are only five African Americans and one Hispanic person.

A hundred miles from Whitwell is Pulaski where the infamous Ku Klux Klan was reportedly born.

The city is quite poor, as its main business, coal mining, started to decline after an accident 30 years ago; the last mine was shut down in 1997. About half of the students at the middle school qualify for the free lunch program, which is a benefit for lower-income American school children.

In 1998, Linda M. Hooper, the principal asked Assistant Principal David Smith to find a voluntary after-school project to teach the children about tolerance. David Smith and Sandra Roberts started a Holocaust education program and held the first class in the fall of 1998.

They were taught that the word ‘Holocaust’  meant destruction or murder on a mass scale and became the name given to an event that occurred in the middle of the nineteenth century that became known as ‘the Holocaust’.  From this they wanted to know what this event was.

They were told that it was the name given to the murder of 6,000,000 Jews by the Germans during the Second World War which lasted from 1939 to 1945.  

The students asked Mrs. Hooper if they could collect something to represent the lives that were exterminated during the Holocaust. Mrs. Hooper said yes if they could find something that related to the Holocaust or to World War II through Internet research. The students discovered that Norwegians wore paperclips on their lapels during World War II as a silent protest against Nazi occupation. The students decided to collect 6,000,000 paper clips to represent the estimated 6,000,000 Jews killed by the Germans.

Students created a website and sent out letters to friends, family and celebrities. The project began to snowball after it received attention from Peter and Dagmar Schroeder, German journalists who covered the White House for German newspapers. They published some articles and a book, Das Büroklammer-Projekt (The Paper Clip Project) published in September 2000, that promoted the project in Germany. The big break in the US came with an article in the Washington Post on April 7, 2001, written by Dita Smith.   They have now received over 30 million paper clips.

The students (and school) now had a problem.  What were they going to do with these paperclips.

They received an unexpected answer to this problem.  During the war the Germans had used ‘cattle cars’ to take between 80 to 150 prisoners Jews and other prisoners to concentration camps.  The Schroeders discovered one, in poor condition, in a railroad museum in Robel, Germany.  After buying it they had the problem of getting it to Whitwell.  After inspection by technicians of the German rail company, the car was declared "rollable" (maximum speed of 30 miles per hour).  The German Armed Forces had the car sprayed and disinfected for foreign insects.  The "Deutsche Bahn" had a decorative locomotive in front of the car and towed it under official designation "Special Train Holocaust Memorial".  The car travelled 300 miles to the German port of Cuxhaven.

By special arrangement with the German Armed Forces, the Memorial Car was placed on the chartered Norwegian freighter "MS Blue Sky" and was transported to the United States port of Baltimore.

Upon arrival in the United States, the car had to be cleared through customs and the required inspections of the US Dept. of Agriculture. From Baltimore, the CSX Rail Company transported the car to Chattanooga, Tennessee via one of their flatbed rail cars because the wheel gage of the German car conflicted with American rails. Fletcher Trucking Company of Whitwell, Tennessee provided the transportation for the final leg of the trip from Chattanooga to Whitwell Middle School.

B & B Crane Company donated the services of an operator along with a crane capable of lifting 600,000 pounds to set the car on the tracks at the Memorial site in the school

 The tracks, which the car sits on, were donated by CSX Railroad Company. These tracks were made in Tennessee in 1943.  Members of the community beautified the area surrounding the car.

MONUMENT

The Children's Holocaust Memorial consists of an authentic German transport car (which arrived in the Baltimore seaport on September 9, 2001) surrounded by a small garden. The railcar is filled with 11 million paper clips (6 million for murdered Jews and 5 million for Roma, Catholics, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other groups). The monument was uncovered on the anniversary of the Kristallnacht, November 9, 2001.

Linda Pickett sculpted eighteen butterflies of twisted copper which are embedded in concrete around the railcar. Butterflies came from a poem written by a child who lived in Terezin concentration camp in 1942 (I Never Saw Another Butterfly) and the number 18 in Hebrew symbolizes life (in Gematria, 18 is the numerical value of the word חי, pronounced Chai, meaning life). Inside the railcar, besides the paper clips, there are the Schroeders’ book and a suitcase filled with letters of apology to Anne Frank by a class of German schoolchildren.

A sculpture designed by an artist from Ooltewah, Tennessee stands next to the car, memorializing the 1.5 million children murdered by the Nazis, and incorporating another 11 million paper clips.

In 2006 the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance and Yidden on Wheels, a Toronto-based Jewish motorcycle club, organized a ride from points across North America to Whitwell, TN to commemorate the Paperclip Project and in honor of the Holocaust's victims. The ride was also a fundraiser for that school, with over $35,000 raised to help the school buy interactive blackboards.

Mitchell Belman, a Toronto-based filmmaker, captured the essence of this ride in his documentary Paper Clips: A Ride to Remember.

A small park surrounds the car.  Orginally there were eighteen butterflies some inlaid with stained glass and others free standing copper sculptures.  Over the years visitors have left additional butterflies so the number grows daily.  There is also a monument honoring the children lost in the Holocaust. The Holocaust Research Room houses over thirty thousand letters, a collection of Holocaust books, artifacts, and art.

An award-winning documentary film about the project was released in 2004 by Miramax Films.


Jewish Holocaust Memorial
6.000,000 Paper Clips 
1 to remember each Jew 
murdered in the Holocaust    
______________

The students, staff, and community of Whitwell Middle School
have transformed a death car 
(A wagon used to take Jews to a death camp such as Auschwitz)
into a symbol of renewed life honoring
the lives of those murdered by the Nazis.
  

Orginally, eighteen butterflies enhanced 
the grounds around the rail car
(for chai - Hebrew for life, 
the Christian symbol of renewal and the Children of Terezín) 
Over the years, visitors have left several more butterflies.  



PAPER CLIPS PROJECT
Wikipedia

 Paper Clips, [1]

DEVELOPMENT

The students decided to collect 6,000,000 paper clips to represent the estimated 6,000,000 Jews killed between 1939 and 1945 under the authority of the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler.

FACTS AND BRIEF HISTORY OF THE RAIL CAR:

T

SOME NOTABLE KINDERTRANSPORT MEMORIALS

THE KINDERTRANSPORT QUILTS

The Kindertransport Association has created a series of
exhibition panels that trace the epic journey of the Kindertransport from 1938 into the 21st century for the Kindertransport Journey Museum Quality Traveling Exhibit.  
Take a Virtual Tour

These panels are designed for exhibition in Holocaust Museums and Study Centers, Universities, and Jewish Community Centers. The full set of exhibition panels consists of 17 full color panels
(16 are 30” x 40”; 1 is 20” x 30”), laminated and framed,
sealed in non-glare plexiglass.



THE BUTTON MEMORIAL
MORIAH SCHOOL, NEW ZEALAND 








On the closure of Moriah School the Memorial was transferred to


Jewish Children Holocaust Memorial
1,500,000 Buttons
1 to remember each Jewish child  murdered in the Holocaust  

1.5 million children died in the Holocaust.
This enormous number is too great for children to grasp
—until you make it real.
So the children of Moriah School decided to see it for themselves.
Over a period of two and a half years
the children collected 1.5 million buttons.

“We still find it hard to understand:
How can people murder innocent children?”
By remembering we can help stop this horrible thing
from happening in our generation”
(Jonah, Yr 7)













THIS HAS BEEN FOLLOWED BY OTHER SCHOOLS, FOR EXAMPLE

AN IDEA AS BRIGHT AS SIX MILLION BUTTONS
Francine Wolfisz finds out about B's Buttons, a student project to create a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Shoah
Jewish News, Francine Wolfisz,  April 11, 2018,

B's Buttons is a project inspired by pupils at The Lakes School, Windermere, to create a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Shoah

B's Buttons is a project inspired by pupils at The Lakes School, Windermere, to create a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Shoah

What does six million look like? While one inquisitive student learning about the horrors of the Holocaust had asked a seemingly straightforward question, for her teacher the answer was far from simple.

Laura Oram, a history teacher at The Lakes School in Windermere, Cumbria, had tasked her pupils with designing a meaningful memorial to the Jews killed at the hands of Nazi persecution during the Second World War, having been inspired by a visit from Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh.

He was one of 732 displaced children, known collectively as “The Boys”, who were resettled in the UK in 1945.

Arek and 299 others were given a new home on the Calgarth Estate in the Lake District, a wartime housing scheme built for aviation workers, where The Lakes School now resides.

As they mulled over finding the solution, the 29-year-old teacher and her student, Bliss, also known as “B”, came up with the idea of collecting buttons.

Having discovered a similar project, 6 million +, had already been devised more than ten years ago, they altered the focus to reflect the 1.5 million children who were murdered.

B’s Buttons is a project inspired by pupils at The Lakes School, Windermere, to create a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Shoah

Since launching in September, the project – known as B’s Buttons – has fired the imagination of people around the globe and collected more than 300,000 buttons, with contributions coming from the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, France and the UK.

“When one of our students asked what six million looked like, I didn’t have an answer,” explains Laura. “It’s difficult even for adults to conceptualise. You can imagine 30,000 people in a football stadium, but beyond that is tricky.

“B came up with the idea of buttons and perceptively noted that they are all different shapes and sizes, just like the children they represent.

“When we started, I assumed we would collect some buttons and do something small. But when I put the post on Facebook, it just took off. All these buttons started arriving.”

Poignantly, many contributors include letters detailing how they or their close relative survived the Holocaust.

One package contained the buttons taken from the coat of a young child sent on the Kindertransport.

Trevor Avery, director of the Lake District Holocaust Project, who has been assisting the school in their efforts, described the letters as “moving and incredible”.

Laura Oram, a history teacher at The Lakes School, centre, with Belinda Hochland and Sharon Landau, daughters of Henry Rose, one of the 300 Boys who arrived in Windermere in 1945

He said: “One daughter of a Holocaust survivor decided to send one of her mum’s buttons.

“Another, whose mother was one of the youngest to arrive at Windermere aged just four, sent all her little buttons in.

“There was also a woman from the US who sent all her father’s buttons from his army tunic and Sandhurst College sent a beautiful collection, a button from every regiment that has ever passed through.

“My mother died four years ago and we’ve even contributed her button collection. A lot of people have put their emotions and heart into this.”

In the wake of February’s deadly mass shooting at a secondary school, a group in Parkland, Florida collected 14,738 buttons –  a testimony, says Avery, to how B’s Buttons has touched people around the world and is seen as “a positive commemoration to the children who lost their lives and a determination to remember them.”

The venture was given another boost in recent months thanks to Abigail Mann, a solicitor from St Albans, who heard about the project and wanted to help spread the word to the Jewish community around the UK.

Her efforts have helped set up button collections at museums, schools and synagogues, including at The Wiener Library and The Radlett Centre.

Now the great task of counting the buttons lies ahead, with Bushey United Synagogue, Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue and Thames Valley Limmud among those planning counts in the weeks ahead.

The idea also inspired mum-of-three Gabi Rolfe, from Bushey, to get a collection started at Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, in Radlett, which her children attend.

Hertsmere Jewish Primary School acting head Rita Alak-Levy with Year 4, Year 6 and Reception pupils with their collection for B’s Buttons

“I found it even more poignant that this was started by children at a non-Jewish school, who wanted to do everything they could to honour the Jewish children who were murdered.

“Because the project is so visual, the children can better understand the enormity of what happened during the Holocaust. It’s just an amazing idea.”

Andy Cunningham, headteacher at The Lakes School, said the school had been “overwhelmed” by how the project has taken root around the world and wanted to thank those who had donated buttons in helping to “realise a young person’s vision”.

He added: “B’s buttons is an amazing project and it’s true to say that we have been overwhelmed by the public response.

“Buttons have been arriving in our school from far and wide and we have been touched by some of the personal messages from people moved by the project.”

The hope is that once 1.5 million buttons are collected, they will be turned into a permanent Holocaust memorial sited on the school grounds, next to a sapling brought from Auschwitz that was planted in the school gardens last year.

You can donate your buttons at The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide in Russell Square, London and the Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett.

For more information about B’s Buttons,
email buttons@lakes.cumbria.sch.uk or visit facebook.com/lakesbuttons/