Mayor Reed launches Holocaust learning trunk in Atlanta

Starting this fall, 20 new trunks will launch as part of the statewide Holocaust Learning Trunk Project. The first trunk was launched by Mayor Kasim Reed at Jean Child Young Middle School in Atlanta on November 29, 2012.

The school was chosen by Mayor Reed and special guests included Senator Horacena Tate, Consul General of Israel, Opher Aviran, and Bill Nigut, Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. Holocaust survivor, Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld, spoke to the students about his experiences as a prisoner at Auschwitz.

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Photo: Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld, Holocaust survivor, answers questions after the presentation.

Dr. Schoenfeld travels throughout the state, speaking to students, libraries, civic groups and government officials about his experiences. He has written two books, My Reconstructed Life and Faith and Conflict.

The Holocaust Learning Trunk Project provides learning trunks to middle schools throughout the state of Georgia. Each trunk contains a full complement of educational materials about the Holocaust, WWII, and genocide. The trunks are meant to be an interdisciplinary supplement to curriculum already in place. The contents assist educators in fulfilling the State's Standards of Excellence by teaching the lessons of the Holocaust.

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The project began with a pilot program in the 2011-2012 academic year. It is supported by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and the Georgia Department of Education. The first 33 trunks was distributed to all 16 of the state's Regional Service Educational Agencies (RESA). Middle school educators can check-out a trunk from their local RESA.

The exterior of each trunk is decorated by students in metro-Atlanta. Decorating allows students to express the lessons of the Holocaust through the medium of art. Each trunk has a story. No two trunk designs are alike.

After a trunk is decorated, it is packed with educational materials and a Teaching Guide. Then the trunk is delivered to its respective district. Some trunks are launched with a special presentation at a school with a Holocaust speaker.

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and the Georgia Department of Education are working in concert to ensure the Holocaust Learning Trunk Project will cultivate positive character development and foster students’ understanding of the importance of good citizenship.

For a schedule of trunk presentations and to learn more about the project please visit the project page.