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Holocaust in History Student Tour
recipients: Ginny Hoke, Thurston High School, OR
In June 2012, Ginny Hoke along with eight current and former Thurston High School students joined thirty students and four teachers from Clackamas, Oregon, and Fishers, Indiana, to travel on a Holocaust in History tour to Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The group from Thurston High School represents students who have taken on leadership roles through their campus STAND (Students Taking Action Now Darfur) club, students who have participated in community and classroom Holocaust memorial ceremonies, and others who have stepped up to educate and advocate for those who face genocide in our times. As they neared our departure date, Thurston and Clackamas students spent the day in Portland, Oregon getting to know a local Holocaust survivor, Miriam Greenstein, and Jeannie Smith, the daughter of Polish rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke, whose wartime testimonies come from experiences in the places the students would be visiting, and whose beautiful childhood memories from before the war originated in those cities as well. With support from a grant from the Memorial Library, each traveler received a copy of Irene Gut Opdyke’s memoir, In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, as well as a journal to document their journey. As they traveled through Europe, student artwork and written journal reflections captured with pen and paper the realities of being present at the Schindler Factory, the Uprising Museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Jewish Cemetery in Prague, and Terezin almost seventy years after the end of the Holocaust. The journals provided students the opportunity to process, reflect, and consider the implications of the history they confronted in places where the ghost of the past lingers in the bustling reality of the modern world.
Read a short essay about her visit to Auschwitz by Thurston High School student Kelly Goodrich.