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We Remember

Yuliya Chortleneva, Chernoochene, Kardzali


This project was developed by Yuliya Chortleneva in Chernoochene village in the Kardzali region and was focused on preparing students to participate in competitions on the topic of the Holocaust and to do research and to collect resources for an exhibition and a school collection.


Seven students wrote essays to participate in a national competition on Bar-Zohar’s book, Beyond Hitler’s Grasp. In the Regional Student Conference, Elif Mehmet won first place with the essay “I dream of beauty“and Merlin Emurla ranked third with “A lesson on humanity.” Students also participated in the national meeting “Days of Tolerance” in Kardzhali. The organizers were the Olga Lengyel Institute and the Israeli-Bulgarian Institute. The event was attended by Ambassadors of Israel, U.S.A. and Azerbaijan, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Municipal representatives. In the essay competition, Djansel Myumyun won the first prize, which was a trip to Israel.


Three pupils from our school took part in the 4th National Competition organized by Alef, “Whoever saved one life, saved an entire universe.” The theme for this year was Shimon Peres and his contribution to the dimensions of universal humanism. Out of 161 participants with 165 essays, our student Melis Mehmedali from 11th grade won third place with her essay “Dreams.”


During this project the students worked hard on finding out about the Bulgarian righteous people and building a permanent exhibition, called The Holocaust Corner, to present collected biographies of the people who helped Jews during the Holocaust. We also bought DVDs with movies about the Holocaust. We purchased books about the Holocaust and about the life of the Jews. We read and discussed some of them. We will continue to do so in the next school year. Colleagues and students donated to our Holocaust Corner their own personal books on the subject. We received a small donation of learning resources from Yad Vashem. The opening of the Holocaust Corner was attended by students, teachers and school leaders, representatives of the local community and parents. The students took the most active part in the opening event, which became a celebration for the whole school.


Teacher’s reflection: I am very pleased with the work of the students, the interest they showed and their enthusiasm. They were the on active side. They were explorers. I only guided them. We started to work with the students from 11th grade and constantly more were included. Over 100 children participated in different ways in the project. Colleagues also showed interest and helped me with assistance: teachers of history, English, Bulgarian, the secretary, the librarian and the support staff. Our school leadership was also very interested in everything we did. We will continue the activities next year. We will enrich our Corner. We will continue to watch and discuss films, read and discuss books on the Holocaust and social justice issues. We will continue to participate in competitions on the subject.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)