Holocaust Resistors and Rescuers to Be Immortalized in Student Art, Writing & Video Contest

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 4, 2009) – Students across Texas will have an opportunity to learn about individuals who actively and bravely opposed the Holocaust as it happened during the 2010 Yom HaShoah Statewide Art, Writing and Video Contest.

The contest is held annually to help middle- and high-school students across Texas learn more about the Holocaust during World War II. The contest is timed to coincide with the international commemoration of Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Some of the winners are expected to be on hand at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 11, 2010, during Houston’s citywide Yom HaShoah ceremony at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, 4525 Beechnut.

Yom HaShoah corresponds annually to the historical beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943.

As part of this year’s contests, students are invited to submit art projects, videos and essays reflecting the theme “Upstanders in the Holocaust.”

“Upstander” is a recently coined term used to identify those who stood up for righteousness and fairness in the face of prejudice and hatred, rather than standing by. During World War II and the Holocaust, upstanders came in many different forms: as members of the Partisan military forces battling Nazi Germany in occupied lands behind the front lines to families throughout Europe who hid their Jewish neighbors from deportation and death.

First-, second- and third-place awards will be given for the best art, writing and video project in both the middle- and high-school divisions. First-place winners will receive $100, second-place winners $75 and third-place winners $50.

Entries will be judged by a committee of educators, professionals and Museum members on adherence to the theme, historical representation, creativity and presentation. Guidelines for each entry type may be found at the Web sites of the Dallas, El Paso and Houston museums.

The competition is sponsored by the Texas Coalition for Holocaust Education, which includes Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center, The Holocaust Memorial of San Antonio, Holocaust Museum Houston, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and the North Texas/Oklahoma and Southwest Regional Offices of the Anti-Defamation League.

Entries for the writing portion of the contest must be postmarked by March 11, 2010 and sent to the El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center Education Department, 715 N. Oregon, El Paso, TX 79902.

Video entries must be postmarked by March 11 and should be submitted to Holocaust Museum Houston, Education Department, 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.

Art entries are due by March 25 and should be submitted to the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Education Department, 211 N. Record St., Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75202-3361.

All writing, art and video entries become the property of the Texas Coalition for Holocaust Education and may be reproduced or used for educational purposes at the discretion of its members.

Students interested in researching the history of upstanders can visit Holocaust Museum Houston’s newest exhibit, “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews during the Holocaust" which depicts the heroic stories of Albanian Muslims who saved Jews – those of Albanian origin and refugees alike – from extermination despite great danger to themselves. By the war’s end, almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation had been saved.

Besa means literally "to keep the promise." One who acts according to Besa is someone who keeps his word, someone to whom one can trust one’s life and the lives of one’s family. So when the Germans occupied Albania in 1943, the local population refused to comply with the Nazis’ orders to turn over lists of Jews residing in Albania. Albanians took fleeing Jews into their homes, lived with them as family and protected them at great peril.

The exhibition, which will be on display until Feb. 7, 2010, stems from a five-year project by Colorado-based photographer Norman Gershman, who specializes in portraiture, and documents the story of 65 Albanian families.

An additional resource can be found in the Laurie & Milton Boniuk Resource Center and Library at Holocaust Museum Houston, with more than 7,200 volumes in the circulating library, the archives and the oral histories.

The competition has been generously underwritten by The David Berg Endowment Fund and The Houston Council of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Second Generation.

Visit www.hmh.org for complete contest details and submission guidelines.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.

For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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