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Children and the Holocaust Essay Contest

Sponsored by
The Quad Cities Yom HaShoah Committee

About the Contest

A poet once remarked that the death of a child is the loss of infinite possibilities. What, then, can be said about the more than one-and-a-half million Jewish children who were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust years (1933-1945)? Of course, many more boys and girls suffered unimaginable hardships and bore witness to the brutality of the Nazis. Some survived. Many did not. Regardless of how experiences varied from country to country, children's lives were changed forever. The purpose of this essay contest is to record the stories that must be told to yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's children.

Part A

Research the history of a specific child or youth who was caught in or witnessed the events of the Holocaust in Europe. This person could have lived in a ghetto, been hidden, carried out clandestine activities, been a part of a kindertransport, known the horrors of concentration camps and/or experienced the Holocaust in a myriad of other ways. He or she could have been a Jew or a non-Jew, or have been a part of a family or a group of children suffering the same fate. Describe the conditions under which this individual lived and the circumstances that impacted his/her life during the Holocaust years. If he or she survived, briefly explain what happened after 1945.

Part B

Tell how learning about the Holocaust through the personal story of this one individual makes the Holocaust more meaningful to you.

Deadline & Award

This contest is open to students in grades 8-12 in the greater Quad Cities area, Illinois and Iowa.

A $500 Scholarship will be awarded to the winner of this essay contest, and the winning essay will be read at the Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance service, usually scheduled each year in April or May.

Criteria, Content and Mechanical Specifications

  1. The essay and completed Entry Form, signed by the student and parent, must be mailed and postmarked no later than February 1, 2013. No late entries will be judged! Entries submitted by fax or email will not be considered.
  2. Each contestant is limited to one entry per year. Participants from previous years may enter again.
  3. Essays will be evaluated on development of content and theme, original expression, historical accuracy, grammar and mechanics. They must meet the following criteria:
    • Adherence to theme - details about an actual child or youth, boy or girl, who experienced the Holocaust;
    • Evidence of historical research - comprehensive and accurate; not written in the first-person or as fiction; substantial supporting detail with a minimum of direct quotes;
    • Synthesis of information - gathered from a variety of electronic and non- electronic sources, all properly cited; all citation styles are accepted, but citations must be consistent; internal citations, footnotes, or endnotes are acceptable;
    • Essays must be free of plagiarism - those passages copied directly from other sources, without proper citations, or containing vast amounts of quoted or minimally paraphrased material are subject to disqualification.
    • Personal insight – describing own feelings and using a creative writing style;
    • Typed - double-spaced on 81/2” x 11” plain white paper, with one-inch margins and size 12 font; use only one side of the paper;
    • Maximum of 1200 words; all words in the body of the essay are counted in the total; internal citations do not count;
    • Error-free – no more than two errors in grammar, spelling or other mechanics;
    • Five copies of the essay submitted - each stapled in the upper left corner; the student’s name and address should appear ONLY on a cover sheet and not on other pages of the essay to ensure blind judging; do not use a cover or binder;
    • Completed entry form - original signatures where indicated.
  4. Students requesting confirmation that their essays have been received must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. All entries become property of the Quad Cities Yom HaShoah Committee and will not be returned. Students give the Quad Cities Yom HaShoah Committee permission to reprint entries. Decisions of the judges are final.
  5. Entries for this contest should be sent to:
    • The Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities
      2715 30th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201