The educational mission of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is threefold:
- To promote an understanding of the uniqueness and magnitude of the Holocaust, its unfolding stages, and its critical lessons.
- To serve as an educational resource for students and teachers to learn about the Holocaust, racism, and the dangers of prejudice
- To help students apply the lessons of the Holocaust and other historical events – the dangers of discrimination, peer pressure, unthinking obedience to authority, and indifference – to the moral decisions they make in their own lives.
In January of 2012, the Holocaust Commission lost two of our valiant Speakers’ Bureau survivors, David Katz and Hanns Loewenbach. More than ever, we dedicate our efforts toward our educational mission to them, remembering the lasting impression they made on thousands of students and adults, military and civilian, to whom they spoke. Until they literally no longer could, they repeatedly shared with others the horrors of their experiences during the Holocaust, to teach the message that Hanns stated so brilliantly: “Evil does not need your help; just your indifference.” We will miss them but we will keep their message of hope and love alive. Please visit the What We Carry page to learn more about their stories and the stories of other Holocaust survivors.
Personal Stories of Survival During the Holocaust
For over thirty years, local survivors from the Holocaust Commission's Speakers' Bureau shared their stories with thousands of students throughout Tidewater. Read their biographies and the Personal Stories of other local survivors, liberators, and Righteous Gentiles.
What We Carry
The What We Carry is a multimedia program that continues to share the messages of the last four Speakers’ Bureau survivors. Using raw interview footage and archival footage, the Holocaust Commission created four short films, each one based on a Speakers’ Bureau survivor’s experiences and reflections. They are available to come to schools, military commands and community groups as part of a docent-led presentation including a vintage suitcase full of replicas of all of the photos, artifacts, and memorabilia the four retained from their Holocaust experiences.
Elie Wiesel Competitions
The Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts competitions are open to middle and high school students annually, with cash prizes for winners and incentives for teachers.
White Rose and Red Rose
Proceeds raised through the White Rose project, honoring martyred teen activists, Hans and Sophie Scholl, educate local students and residents about the Holocaust. Larger donations ($250 or more) support our Red Rose Campaign. These funds are vital to help us continue all of our educational programs.
Awards for excellence in Holocaust education are offered by the Holocaust Commission to honor teachers in the area's public and private schools who have demonstrated excellence in Holocaust education. Learn More.
For the commemoration of the Day of the Holocaust, the commission sponsors an annual Yom Hashoah program that celebrates the power of the human spirit and the enduring faith of those who witnessed and survived the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel competition and Teacher Award winners are honored at this event.
Through the Eyes of a Friend
Through the Eyes of a Friend is a dramatic presentation that offers students in Tidewater public and private schools the opportunity to learn about Anne Frank and her world from a unique perspective.
Biennial educators’ conferences bring nationally recognized speakers, authors, and child advocates to the Tidewater area, to give teachers and school counselors continuing education for themselves, and practical tools to use in their schools.
The Holocaust Commission of UJFT encourages teachers, students and the community at large to apply the lessons of history to the moral decisions they make each day.