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Visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, Farmington Hills
recipients: Wendy VanBeelen, Mason High School, Mason, Michigan
date: 2019

The Holocaust & Modern Acts of Genocide class and the Advanced German Classes visited the Holocaust Memorial Center to gain additional insight about the Holocaust. Each group of students was led through the museum, which follows the history of Judaism, Jewish Culture, Jews in Germany before the Nazis, the Rise of Nazism, the Holocaust and post-Holocaust. After the docent-led tours, students sat in the auditorium to listen to a second-generation survivor. The speaker, Sheryl, was born in a displaced persons camp, something the students had not heard about yet (the visit was early in the trimester so the class was still at the beginning of the Holocaust). Both of Sheryl’s parents were in concentration camps, her mother was a Jewish American spy and her father was a European Jew. Sheryl told stories about both of her parents, then shared what life was like in a DP camp for a young child. Listening to Sheryl tell her story and her parents’ stories was eye-opening to the students.


The visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center was emotional and impactful for the students. For the remainder of the term, as the class studied more about the Holocaust, students made connections between what was taught in class to what was learned at the Holocaust Memorial Center. “The community surrounding my school is not very diverse, so being able to leave the environment to visit the museum exposed the students to more than just a history lesson” said VanBeelen. “Being able to visit the museum was powerful and emotional for the students; they learned so much more than they could ever lean in a classroom environment.” 


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)