A somber Holocaust commemoration

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The students of Jennifer Metcalf’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies class, in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, constructed a Gallery Walk in West Milford High School’s lower media center.

The display conveyed a powerful message for everyone who walked through it, as it reminded the over 400 attendees about the atrocities committed so long ago, the inhumane acts that continue to occur, and our commitment to the pledge, “Never Again.”

In 2005, the United Nations designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to mark the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of 6 million Jewish people and hundreds of thousands of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, this date is meant to “honor the victims of Nazism, and to support the development of educational programs to remember the Holocaust and prevent further genocide.”

The Gallery Walk included a section on the rise of the Nazis, a 3-D display of the ghettos in Poland, a section on the Final Solution, a special area honoring those who resisted the Nazis, and a display identifying where other genocides have been perpetrated. At the start of the gallery tour, students were asked to reflect on a singular life — either through hand-carried identification cards or the images in the “Where Have the Children Gone?” section.

For the weeks preceding the event, Metcalf and her students worked diligently to create all the visuals for the Gallery Walk. On Jan. 26-27, they transformed the lower media center into a mini-museum, for which they served as docents for all the visitors. Their hard work and dedication to continuing our awareness of extremely important issues is something that makes all of us very proud.

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