Holocaust researcher speaks to Fort Plain
students from Jerusalem
About 50 eighth grade students at Fort Plain
Jr./Sr. High School took a field trip to Jerusalem on Wednesday,
April 10, to listen to researcher Joel Cohn reflect on stories from
the Holocaust. But they didn’t actually leave Fort Plain, they
utilized Skype – a piece of video conferencing software – to watch
videos and ask Cohn questions.
The virtual field trip culminated a Holocaust
unit taught by Jayme Bevington and Kolbe Gray. During the unit, the
students studied WWII, read the novel, “The Boy in the Striped
Pajamas,” and created a fabric quilt.
Each student designed two fabric quilt
squares, one symbolizing the Holocaust and genocide, and one
symbolizing hope, peace, love and compassion. The teachers plan to
send the quilt to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
“I wanted the students to have a deeper
understanding of the Holocaust,” Mrs. Gray said. “We looked at the
primary information and some secondary sources. We wanted them to
realize that genocide didn’t just happen during the Holocaust.”
A virtual field trip grant from Verizon made
the event possible. The 45-minute session included background
information on the Holocaust from Cohn, personal stories, and
YouTube videos of survivor stories.
“I grew-up around survivors in New York City,”
Cohn said.“When I was younger, no one wanted to tell their stories.
It was too painful, too close. But times changed rapidly in 1978 and
survivors began to tell their stories in dramatic fashion.”
Cohn said about 900,000 people survived the
Holocaust, but only about 150,000 are still alive. He urged the
students – who seemed to watch intently – to never forget what
“Not in their wildest dreams did the people
imagine what could have happened back then,” he said. “Its mind
boggling that such an event could occur.”