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Eva Lassman Holocaust Writing Contest: ‘Our Stories’

UPDATED: Sun., June 5, 2022

Ava Lewis, an eighth grader at Chase Middle School, won first place in the annual Eva Lassman Holocaust Essay contest middle school division.
Ava Lewis, an eighth grader at Chase Middle School, won first place in the annual Eva Lassman Holocaust Essay contest middle school division.
By Ava Lewis

Me

Irena Karplusová

A girl

14 years old

Living in the Terezín ghetto

Drawing.

Me

Yitskhok Rudashevski

A boy

15 years old

Living in Lithuania

Writing.

Me

Anne Frank

A girl

16 years old

Living in Amsterdam

Hiding.

Us.

Our families.

Silenced by

Nazi Germany.

Hitler.

His followers.

Discriminating against us,

Because of our beliefs.

Killing us,

Because of our families.

Starving us,

Because of our religion.

We believed we were Germans.

We believed we could fight.

We believed that we were strong enough.

But Hitler was stronger.

And Hitler was popular.

And Hitler was destroying us.

One.

At.

A.

Time.

Why are we important?

Why are our voices not silenced?

Why are our names known?

Because we fought back.

We may not have lived, but our memory did.

We may have died, but our voice is still strong.

Through drawings.

And diaries.

And memories.

We might be kids, but we will help you learn.

We might be small, but your knowledge can get bigger.

With every drawing that you see.

With every diary that you read.

With every memory you hear.

And with those drawings, diaries, and memories,

Remember us.

Remember our stories.

Remember our history.

Remember why we’re important.

Remember what we lived through.

We share our history so you can learn.

So you can grow.

So you can remember our stories.

Human hate is everywhere.

But you must see it to prevent it.

You must realize how it changes us.

How it affects us.

How we feed it.

Sustain its growing hunger with our words.

With our hurt.

With our pain.

Look around you.

There is so much hate in our world.

In our countries.

In our lives.

History isn’t supposed to repeat itself.

But what do we call the events happening right now?

The invasion in Ukraine.

2 million refugees in 12 days.

Asian Americans.

Dying for no reason.

Why?

Because of human hate.

Human vengeance.

When we are hurt, we like to blame others.

We like to have a reason for our pain,

For our suffering.

So we place our blame on others who are different.

Unique.

When we do this,

People suffer.

People die.

People lose everything,

Because of human hate, pain, and hurt.

To stop this, you need to see it.

Learn it.

Feel it.

When no one knows what’s going on, no one stops things from happening.

But when you learn about real life examples of human hate,

When you realize what men

Women

Adults

Children

Went through during these situations,

You stop.

You realize how the hate you inflict on others changes the world.

How the world can change because of the hate inflicted on it.

But what can you do?

How can you make a difference in your community?

In your school?

In your home?

You can remember our stories.

You can learn lessons from us.

You can feel the impact of hate upon our world.

And you can teach it to others.

Figure out how to get rid of human hate and put a little more peace into our lives.

Our diaries tell the story of the Holocaust.

There are many things that shouldn’t have happened.

Shouldn’t have been spoken.

Shouldn’t have been thought.

Shouldn’t have been dreamed.

Our lives were nightmares when the Nazis took over.

Every morning we woke up, hoping it would all be a dream.

But it wasn’t.

And it was always real.

Teaching people what happened during the Holocaust lessens the nightmares we have every night.

To know that someone still remembers us and our stories

Remembers what we went through.

If you help spread these stories and memories

You can be the reason we wake up.

Ava Lewis is an eighth-grader at Chase Middle School.

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