Holocaust Theme Focuses on Words

Holocaust Theme Focuses on Words

Georgia Commission on the Holocaust highlights the impact of words for Day of Remembrance.

The annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at the Marcus JCC is held at the Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden.
The annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at the Marcus JCC is held at the Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden.

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust has announced the theme for the 2018 Holocaust Days of Remembrance in Georgia: “Incite, Resist, Document: Weighing the Power of Words.”

The theme encourages reflection on the moral questions raised when we examine the Holocaust period and consider what it means to be a responsible citizen. The words we use when we speak, write, post or tweet have a lasting impact.

The Holocaust occurred because individuals, groups and nations made decisions to act or not to act. Words were powerful tools, spurring people to action or compelling them to stand aside.

Hateful words incited people to join or assist the Nazis and their collaborators. Resistance groups wrote, broadcast and sang words of defiance and inspiration. People targeted by the Nazis documented their experiences in diaries and letters, leaving compelling testimonies that have outlived them.

The commission’s focus on words comes at a time of increasingly harsh statements in politics, easing the path to the mainstream for extreme views and expressions of anti-Semitism and other hatred, as seen most dramatically in the Charlottesville, Va., marches and clashes in August.

Georgia’s 2018 Days of Remembrance observance is scheduled to culminate April 13 with a ceremony at the Georgia Capitol downtown.

In addition to a candle-lighting ceremony featuring Holocaust survivors and liberators, the event will include recognition of the recipients of the Commission on the Holocaust’s Humanitarian Award and Distinguished Educator of the Year award and the winners of the Creative Arts Student Contest.

Students entries in that contest must reflect the 2018 theme and use sources provided by the commission.

The Distinguished Educator of the Year award goes to a full-time Georgia educator from fifth through 12th grades who demonstrates excellence in the development and presentation of lessons or activities focused on the Holocaust, human rights, civil rights or character development. The award includes a $500 stipend.

The deadline to apply is March 13.

Students must submit entries for the Creative Arts Student Contest by March 6.

Each entry will be judged on historical accuracy, thematic content and artistic excellence. First-place winners in each category will receive iPad Minis.

Find details at holocaust.georgia.gov.

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