January 2021 -- Tevet-Shevat 5781,  Volume 27, Issue 1

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HHREC Student Research Contest with Prizes Awarded

The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) has  announced its first annual White Rose Student Research Contest, open to 7th-12th grade students.


The 2020-2021 contest theme is Propaganda. Propaganda is the utilization of a message to sway opinion – be that in the form of advertising a product or selling a political message. In 21st century America, the word propaganda carries a connotation that makes one uneasy. People equate it with manipulation for negative purposes. Much of this perspective is born out of the propaganda from World War I and World War II.


During the Nazi period, propaganda was used for a variety of purposes ranging from electioneering to preparing the highly integrated German society to view their own neighbors as inferior beings worthy of exclusion and, eventually, annihilation.


Much of Nazi propaganda focused on amplifying and creating differences among those under Nazi control. Some propaganda promoted “Aryan” ideals and sought to win supporters by making people feel included in the racial community of Nazi Germany. Other examples aimed to highlight the perceived dangers posed by those the Nazis wished to exclude from society.


 Projects will be evaluated on historical accuracy, development of content and theme, and original expression according to this rubric. Each participant is limited to one entry per year. All entries become property of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center and will not be returned. Applicants give the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center permission to reprint entries and decisions of the judges are final.


Entries are accepted in three age divisions – 7-8th grade, 9-10th grade and 11-12th grade.

  Finalists will be identified by a panel of Blue Ribbon judges and honored at a (virtual) reception in May or June. The top prize winner in each age level will be awarded a $300 prize. The sponsoring teacher of each first prize winner will be awarded a voucher worth $150 for use on professional development and/or Holocaust resources.


HHREC encourages teachers to utilize this writing contest as a classroom exercise. Sponsoring teachers are limited to submitting no more than 10 papers per age division. Sponsoring teachers must email a list of participating students to HHREC by February 1, 2021. Educators may submit additional names via email until March 8, 2021.


Educators must submit their finalist names and certify their participation through the entry form. Each paper should reflect the student’s own work, guided and reviewed, but not edited in detail by the sponsoring teacher. Entries must be submitted by the published deadline. Finalists and their sponsoring teacher will be recognized at a (virtual) reception in May or June. A Google Docs submission deadline is April 7, 2021.


Teachers are encouraged to help students find resources. HHREC urges caution when conducting open web-based searches for Holocaust research.  Require students to link through trusted sites such as the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem.


The contest is named in memory of the White Rose, a resistance movement consisting of German university students. Among them were Hans and Sophie Scholl, along with several friends and their professor, were arrested and executed for distributing leaflets denouncing the policies of the Nazi regime. The project commemorates the efforts of these brave young people who gave their lives for what they believed in.


For submission rules visit hhrecny.org. For questions and guidelines contact Julie Scallero at jscallero@hhrecny.org or Robin Schamberg at rschamberg@hhrecny.org