Holocaust Center For Humanity Writing, Art, and Film Contest 2023
The Writing, Art, and Film Contest challenges students to explore the history and stories of the Holocaust.
Open to students in grades 5-12 from Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
Over 30 prizes awarded in different categories:
First Prizes: $200
Second Prizes: $100
Third Prizes: $50
Choose one of the two options below.
Students may enter more than one category.*
*Students can submit entries in more than one category, i.e., art and writing, but they can only win in one category. Students cannot enter both the physical art category and the digital art category.
Option 1: Creative Writing, Physical Art, Digital Art, and Film
Background: “...I consider that everything should be recorded and noted down, even the most gory, because everything will be taken into account." -Yitskhok Rudashevski, teenage diarist murdered during the Holocaust. 1927-1943
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest, symbolically most important Jewish uprising, and first urban uprising in German-occupied Europe. While organized armed resistance was the most direct form of opposition to the Nazis, resistance also included escape, hiding, cultural activity, and other acts of spiritual preservation. Such non-armed resistance refers to attempts by individuals to maintain their humanity, personal integrity, dignity and sense of civilization in the face of their oppressors' attempts to dehumanize and degrade them.
Prompt: Describe or illustrate, in the art form of your choice, how a Holocaust survivor's experience with resistance during the Holocaust can inspire us to make meaningful change today.
*Use one or more entries in the Survivor Encyclopedia: Washington State and/or the story of a survivor about whom you have learned in your class to inform your entry.
Option 2: Argumentative Writing
*Note: This year, HCH has split the prompts between Grades 5-8 and Grades 9-12
Background: The Holocaust Center for Humanity has been asked to submit a recommendation to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in the state of Washington regarding whether instruction about the Holocaust should be required in public schools, and if so, in which grades.
The current law, which “strongly encourages” teaching about the Holocaust, indicates that, “The studying of this material is intended to: Examine the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and intolerance; prepare students to be responsible citizens in a pluralistic democracy; and be a reaffirmation of the commitment of free peoples never again to permit such occurrences.”
Prompt: In a cohesive paper, write a letter to the legislature arguing in favor of mandating (requiring) Holocaust education in Washington State schools. Use one or more entries in the Survivor Encyclopedia: Washington State, and/or the life story of a survivor about whom you have learned in your class, as well as at least one of the sources provided to inform your entry.
Background: Any study of the Holocaust raises questions about what might have been done to stop the rise and expansion of the Nazis in Europe. The Nazis built a society based on exclusion and persecution of the Jews and other marginalized groups in Germany and, eventually, throughout Europe. Over time, governmental leaders in the United States made choices that drove the American response to the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Prompt: Was the American government response to the Holocaust (1933-1945) sufficient? In a well organized paper, support your position by discussing two or more specific events related to the American response. In addition, based on what you have learned, how should America respond to human rights violations in other countries? Explain your thinking.
For all categories and prompts: Survivor Encyclopedia: Washington State (Stories, videos, photos of local Holocaust survivors)
Resources to support prompt “Option 1: Creative Writing, Art, and Film”:
- HCH Overview: Resistance
- USHMM Encyclopedia: Jewish Resistance
- USHMM Encyclopedia: Map of Resistance Events during the Holocaust
- USHMM Encyclopedia: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
- Echoes and Reflections: Teaching and Learning about Resistance
- The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation: The RESIST! Curriculum
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Resistance
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Thomas Blatt
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Ed Kaye
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Martin Metzon
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Carla Peperzak
- HCH Survivor Encyclopedia: Paula Stern
Resources to support prompt "Option 2: Argumentative Writing":
Grade 5-8 Prompt:
- State Requirements - Washington State
- FIRST-EVER 50-STATE SURVEY ON HOLOCAUST KNOWLEDGE OF AMERICAN MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z REVEALS SHOCKING RESULTS
- Echoes and Reflections US College Survey
- Never Again Education Act
- Why Teach about the Holocaust? (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- Teaching About the Holocaust: Rationale, Content, Methodology, & Resources
- The Importance of Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust (UNESCO)
- Why We Need Legislation to Ensure the Holocaust is Taught in Schools (ADL)
- Why Teach about the Holocaust (IHRA)
Grade 9-12 Prompt:
- Americans and the Holocaust - US Holocaust Memorial Museum Online Exhibit
- The US and the Holocaust Film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein
- The United States and the Holocaust, 1942-1945 (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The Voyage of the St. Louis - (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- Wagner-Rogers Bill (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The Evian Conference (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The Movement to Boycott the Berlin Olympics (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The “Immigration Problem” (Facing History and Ourselves)
- The Riegner Telegram (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The United States and the Holocaust: Why Auschwitz was not Bombed (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
- The War Refugee Board (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Where can I go to learn more about the Holocaust and to read/hear stories from survivors, rescuers, and others?
- Survivor Encyclopedia: Washington State
- Washington State Jewish Historical Society/University of Washington Libraries Special Collections (local archives with additional survivor stories)
- Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation (stories of Jewish partisans - armed Jewish resistance)
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- USC Shoah Foundation (largest archive of video testimonies, numbering over 52,000 from 56 countries)
- Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (archive of names & stories of the Righteous Among the Nations - non-Jewish people who helped Jews)
Entries will be judged in the following groups. Winners will be identified in each group.
- High School
- High School
- High school
- High school
A few words about physical vs. digital art:
- The separation of categories is new this year to allow for a more even playing field with different types of visual art.
- Examples of types of art best suited for the physical category: painting, drawing, prints, or film photography.
- Examples of types of art best suited for the digital category: art created on the computer/with a computer program or photographs sent as a jpg, tiff, png, or other digital file.
- 3D or multimedia pieces that do not fit into the rules for acceptable physical art can be scanned or photographed and submitted as a file for the digital art category.
- 5th - 8th grade
- 9th - 12th grade
First Prizes - $200 | Second Prizes - $100 | Third Prizes - $50
Winning entries will be displayed at the Holocaust Center, at events, and in publications throughout the year. Winners will be announced in June 2023.
OFFICIAL RULES: All entrants must review the Official Rules.
Writing, Films, and Digital Art:
Students entering these three categories MUST submit the online entry form linked here using one of two possible methods provided below (Option 1 or Option 2):
Option 1: Email the entry file(s)
- Send from the same email that you have provided in the entry form
- File formats accepted by the HCH are pdf, jpg, png, tiff, and word documents.
- We will not accept entries for these categories that are mailed or dropped off to the Holocaust Center.
- If you are submitting for the digital art category, please email both your art’s file and the artist’s statement. The statement can be provided in a pdf or document format.
Option 2: Provide a link to the entry in the entry form
- PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK to make sure that the file's permissions are set to: "On-Anyone can with the link can access"
Students entering this category MUST submit the online entry form linked here and utilize one of the two possible submission methods provided below (Option 3 or Option 4):
Option 3: Mail your Physical Art entry to the following address:
Holocaust Center for Humanity
ATTN: Rosa Campos
2045 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
Option 4: Drop off your Physical Art at the Holocaust Center for Humanity
Important rules for Physical Art only:
Art pieces may not exceed 18”x24” and must be flat. We cannot accept sculpture or any kind of 3D art. Please use fixatives on charcoal, chalk, and pastel. All art pieces must include an artist statement (100 words or less) and a printed entry form when mailed or dropped off at the Center.
- ALL ENTRIES MUST cite sources when you draw information from them. you summarize, paraphrase, or quote, and when you refer to facts, figures, and ideas.
- Provide complete publication information for each source in your bibliography or list of works cited.
- Art—If you are making an artistic representation of an existing photo or piece of art, be sure to cite it.
- Film—do not use copyright images or footage without permission and reference.
A panel of judges will review the entries. Judges are educators, artists, writers of various faiths and backgrounds. They will be looking for creativity, thoughtfulness, and an understanding of the question. Judges will be looking for you to relate your knowledge and studies of the Holocaust to your own personal life. Judges will also be looking for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and artistic talent.
Are there special considerations that you want the judges to know? If so, please include this in your essay, artist's statement or video.
- Group and class projects are welcome. All students who participated in creating the work should be noted in entry form.
- Entries that do not follow the guidelines will be disqualified.
- Entries will become the property of the Holocaust Center for Humanity.
- The Holocaust Center reserves the right to publish and/or display all work.
- A student may enter multiple categories in their grade (writing, physical art, digital art, film) but they can only win in one category.