Institute News

Holocaust Testimonies Inspire Art and Writing in 15th Annual School Contest

Holocaust survivor testimonies from the Visual History Archive inspired heartfelt works of art, writing and film from students across America in Chapman University and The 1939 Society’s Holocaust Art & Writing Contest.

The winners and runners-up of the 15th annual contest were announced at a ceremony at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., on Friday. The contest challenges middle- and high school students to watch a survivor testimony from USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive or the archives of The 1939 Society and then create a response in the form of an essay, poem, artwork or, for the first time this year, a short film.

This year, 175 public, private and parochial schools around the country participated in the contest. The winners and their teachers received a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Winners in middle school and high school for each category are chosen by a panel of judges that include Chapman University faculty, Holocaust experts and artists. USC Shoah Foundation IWitness manager Jenna Leventhal served as a judge and presented awards at the ceremony on Friday.

The winners and finalists were inspired by the testimony of survivors including Jack Lewin, Esther Stern and Gertrude Goetz. The runner-up in the high school writing category, Andrew Aldujalli, wrote an essay responding to the testimony of George Weiss, a USC Shoah Foundation volunteer. Aldujalli discusses how he, growing up Muslim, relates to Weiss’s struggle with his own Jewish identity as a child.

Weiss attended the award ceremony and met Aldujalli and other students.

Click here to view previous years’ winners; this year’s winners will be posted soon.