The Project Witness program helps students better understand the Holocaust in an effort to eradicate the hatred and ignorance that caused such horrors. Through engaging curriculum, survivor talks, and culminating projects, WHSAD students have become more responsible and empathetic human beings.
This year, another facet of the program in which students participated was a design challenge, which focused on Lager Shvesters, or Camp Sisters. Quite a few WHSAD students submitted entries, and freshman, Alonzo Jones, and Sophomore, Cynthia Luna-Marcelino, placed second in the categories of literature and art respectively.
Below is their work along with their statements about their pieces.
The Power of Friendship by Alonzo Jones
The Holocaust, one of the darkest periods in human history, saw the systematic persecution and murder of millions of Jews and other minority groups by the Nazi regime. Among these victims were the Camp Sisters, young women who were interned in concentration camps during this time. Despite the unimaginable horrors they faced, these women found solace and strength in the power of friendship.
The Camp Sisters were subjected to brutal conditions, including forced labor, starvation, and medical experiments. They were stripped of their basic human rights and treated as nothing more than numbers in a twisted and inhumane system. Yet, amidst all the suffering, they managed to form close bonds with one another.
These friendships provided the Camp Sisters with a sense of hope and purpose. They shared their stories, their fears, and their dreams, and in doing so, they were able to find a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. They found strength in one another and were able to support each other during the darkest of times.
The Camp Sisters also formed friendships with their fellow prisoners, even those who were not Jewish. They found that despite the differences in their background, they all shared a common bond of suffering and oppression. This realization helped them to understand that they were not alone in their struggle and that they had the power to make a difference in the lives of others. One of the most remarkable examples of friendship among the Camp Sisters was the story of two young women, Anka and Rosa. They met in Auschwitz, and despite the fact that they came from different backgrounds and spoke different languages, they formed a deep and lasting bond. They were able to communicate through the universal language of friendship and shared their hopes and dreams for the future. They promised each other that if they survived the Holocaust, they would meet again.
Their friendship was a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome even the most unimaginable circumstances. Despite the atrocities they faced, they were able to find hope and inspiration in one another. They were a shining example of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
In conclusion, the Camp Sisters of the Holocaust were subjected to unimaginable horrors, yet they were able to find solace and strength in the power of friendship. Their story is a powerful reminder of the importance of human connection and the power of the human spirit to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, friendship can be a beacon of hope and a source of strength.
The inspiration behind The Power of Friendship
Believe it or not, but the inspiration behind my Holocaust competition essay, “The Power of Friendship” was very hard to find. I overcomplicated a lot of my writing. One because I wanted to hold respect for the camp sisters and survivors of the Holocaust and two, I wanted to write something that stood out. In the end, I’m proud of how my piece came out, and now I’ll take you on the journey of how I wrote my essay.
It all began before I even knew about the competition. In room 201, Ms. Newton’s classroom, the class started to read Night by Elie Wiesel. I was excited, not only because I had a good knowledge of the Holocaust and wanted to expand on it but because I had read the book before and learned so much. Part of my inspiration for my essay came from Night. We had broken down the lives of the Jewish people and families that lived in Sighet, and the torment and atrocities they had to face by the Nazi regime. This was the first step to approaching the prompt for my essay.
When Ms. Sabic first told me about the project, I was skeptical. I had a lot going on at the moment and really couldn’t take on a new project. But I knew at the end, it would be beneficial for me to get my ideas and words out on paper. So that’s what I did. Taking the inspiration from Night and my background knowledge, I wrote about the power of friendship and the story about the Holocaust Camp Sisters. Before this project, I didn’t know who the Camp Sisters were but I’m grateful that I found out. Their story is timeless and I’m honored to have written about them. Overall, I’m glad I tackled this project and proud/ surprised that I received second place.
Sisterhood by Cynthia Luna-Marcelino
In this drawing I wanted to display the essence of story of the Camp Sisters. I wished to convey the hard times the two had to go through. The hardships and risks they took were impressive and inspired me to draw hands which in my opinion are very hard to draw. I wanted to show the difficulty in the choices they made and decided to have them hold each other’s wrists as a form of close bond they had with one another. The hands are drawn in the form of a square to indicate that they had each other’s back and were willing to make sacrifices. It also showed how over time they became an inseparable pair which depended on each other in critical moments.
In the story of the Camp Sisters, we learn about the lives of two Holocaust survivors, both with the same age and name and bonded with each due to being taken to a concentration camp. In this story we are specifically looking at the woman’s side and their point of view. In this case the two show the sisterhood that many ended up creating during WWII. I took this into account and decided to make a drawing displaying their unity during those harsh moments of their life.