Students Take Holocaust Trip

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The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s 2019 Week of Remembrance fell on the week of May 6. Dr. Harmon took a bus of students to Pittsburgh to participate in holocaust events.

The first stop on the trip was the Community Day School in Pittsburgh to view and learn more about the “Keeping Tabs” sculpture. 

Bill Walter, history teacher at the Community Day School, “challenged his students to collect 6 million tabs to represent the Jewish lives that were lost. The project was passed down from class to class, involving hundreds of students. Tabs were collected at block parties, weddings, churches, synagogues and beauty salons. Soon, the glass tanks in Walter’s classroom were filled floor-to-ceiling with tabs.”

In six years the students succeeded in collecting 6 million pop tabs that were incorporated into a sculpture made up of 960 glass blocks, creating a 7-9-foot high segmented Star of David that mimics a maze. The sculpture is now housed at a new urban park on the school campus.

Redbank students next saw the play The Soap Myth, starring Ed Asner. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh offers this summary of the play:

“THE SOAP MYTH takes place more than a half century after the end of WWII when a young journalist sets out to write an article about a cantankerous Holocaust survivor and his crusade regarding the Nazi atrocity of soap. THE SOAP MYTH dramatically explores how a survivor survives surviving and questions who has the right to write history – those who have lived it and remember, those who study and protect it, or those who would seek to distort and desecrate its very existence.”

The Soap Myth title stems from the unvalidated rumor that the Nazis used the bodies of executed Jews to make soap. The main charater played by Ed Asner believes the soap myth and he tries to persuade others to believe him.

The Jewish Virtual Library (jewishvirtuallibrary.org) reports, “Andrew Hollinger, a media relations spokesman at the United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem, shared a document written by the museum’s historian that concludes:   Available documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts have been unable to corroborate in a conclusive manner reports that the National Socialists and their collaborators used human fat from their victims in the manufacture of soap.”

Dr. Harmon, who teaches Holocaust Studies to juniors here at Redbank, was just honored as Pennsylvania’s Holocaust Teach of the Year.  Congratulations, Dr. Harmon.

 

 

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