"All too often organizations give much verbal
support for education and little in tangible aid. I was not only amazed at
the commitment that Holland & Knight has made to education through the
Holocaust Remembrance Project, but also the depth of that commitment
It was apparent at the awards dinner, that this was not some thin veneer
for public relations, but an integral part of the company's philosophy."
Los Angeles, California
"The only way to describe the whole experience
is by saying that it was amazing. it was incredible to converse with the
survivors. It is such a rare occurrence to be
able to interact with history.
What struck me most about the survivors were their ever happy faces. I found it so interesting that although these people faced the most powerful hatred in human history, they are now some of the happiest people that I have ever met.
I could never glance around the room
without seeing more than a handful of smiles from the survivors. From this
aspect of the trip I've taken away a new appreciation for life. No longer
will I take even the minute aspects of life for granted."
The Essay: "It became an expression of my deepest
emotions concerning the holocaust, a guiding light to shine for those to
The Trip: "It was the dream that every student who truly cares about the holocaust dreams of."
Personal Experiences: "Never in my life have I been asked to carry the vital burden of someone's story, but now I carry five stories and it has made me realize the power I have as one person. I can't ever let go or forget, anything that I've felt or experienced while in DC, I am changed, and I will go forth and change others. The survivors gave me a driving passion beyond comprehension to push forward and make change in the world, and I refuse to back down to any evil I may confront."
Learned: "I learned that the number 11 million was an important number, but what I came away with was five faces and five stories, which weigh more heavily in my heart. Never again is not a reality, but an idea to which we must fight for, and guide others toward at all costs, with love and hope as beacons of light for those lost in the darkenss of mankind's hearts."
Thank You: "I can't begin to say everything I wish
to...But I thank Holland and Knight and all the lawyers who contributed to
the program, I appreciate their caring and their support. The time and
effort that HandK put into making this week happen will never be
forgotten, not to me. I also want to thank the survivors for sharing the
darkest part of their lives with me, knowing the pain they must have felt
each time they even had to think about it. I will be the witness to them,
I will not let them down."
"Thank you for the amazing experience .... I work
a whole year to try and impact student's minds. You all did it one week.
Our lives are changed forever by our experiences with the Survivors and
their stories. I know I will get back to the USHMM but I know there is
nothing like the first time. I can't wait to share my knowledge with my
students this year. They are in for a treat. "
Little Rock, Arkansas
"Thank you for making this
week one of the most memorable and powerful experiences of my life. Words
are not even nearly sufficient enough to adequately express my deep
appreciation and gratefulness toward the benevolence and humanitarian
spirit of the organization.
As I nostalgically reflected on my journal entries upon my airplane ride back home, I realized that with each passing day I became furthermore knowledgeable, emotional and passionate about the history of the Holocaust as well as about other heart-wrenching past and present genocides such as Bosnia and Sudan.
In light of my journey of self-discovery during the philanthropically-oriented week, I have decided to join Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer in September after my sixteenth birthday. After the trip, my awareness of the potential unfortunate future of genocides heightened, and I am thus ready to take action in my world because, as Leo Bretholz told me, "The future is in your hands."
The trip has motivated me tremendously to
pursue my dream of defending international human rights from arbitrary
governments and ill-intentioned groups, and I am now more determined than
ever to strive to reach my ultimate career goal and work in close
professional affiliation with Holland & Knight.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you again for changing my life."
East Northport, New York
"I have found the week spent with your "team"
and the group of students and teachers to be a very rewarding experience.
With all the hatred and violence going on in our world, it's refreshing to
be surrounded by so much good will and understanding.
I am very gratified to have received letters from teachers and students who took the time to comment on our encounter. Their words express how much the event meant to them, and that they will take the message conveyed into the future. One student mentioned that she "will never remain quiet in the face of evil."
Many thanks to Holland and Knight for being the moving force in such an important undertaking."
Bretholz, Holocaust Survivor
"The trip to
Washington, DC, from July 24 to July 29, 2005, was the best in-service I
have ever attended in my thirty years of being a public and private school
educator. With a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, I have taught
graduate school. The amount of material that we covered and experienced
through our visits to the Holocaust Museum, to
the Smithsonian Museums, and by hearing
Holocaust survivors share their tragic experiences, has changed my life
and will affect how I teach in the future. The overall experience was so
powerful, and now that I have been home for one week, I'd like to reflect
on numerous experiences I had.
First, I am bringing back over a thousand dollars worth of videos, DVD's, and books (hardbacks, paperbacks, nonfiction research books), as well as units that my high school will be able to use in history and English classes. From the training I received, I have already contacted my building principal and will in-service my fellow high school teachers on all the different materials. I will also use these materials, as English Department chair, with my English III and AP English Language students, plus show them, as well as introduce them to the Holland Knight website where over fifty lessons are available on the Holocaust that use some of the books I received.
Many of these materials will be added to our
high school library so they can be used by just not me, but the students
and faculty---once I have introduced them to them.
"Speaking as a survivor, I can tell you that the
Holocaust Remembrance Project is a most
important one, not only to acquaint our youths with the horrors of the
1933-45 period but also to impress upon them the relevance of those
horrors to the present, i.e. Darfur, Rwanda, Kosovo, etc.
I think that I speak for most, if not all survivors when I say that it is not easy to dredge up from our past some of the most painful events in our childhood and youth, but we do it so that those, dearest to us, killed during the Holocaust will not be forgotten and in the hope that their sad fate may help prevent future genocides.
Reading the news, I often wonder whether
our efforts are worthwhile, but whenever we have the opportunity to tell
our Holocaust experiences to young people, we are rewarded when one or
more of them come forward saying that they wished to shake our hand, hug
us or send us a "thank you" letter.
Feigl, Holocaust Survivor
Palm City, Florida
"The essay contest itself was important to me
personally because it forced me to study the Holocaust on my own,
something I had never done before. Attending a Jewish school for most of
my life, I had always learned about the Holocaust in a classroom
setting--listening to a teacher (or a survivor as a guest speaker) and
taking notes. It was a very passive way of learning about the Holocaust,
even if a survivor himself came to talk to our school. I knew the facts
and even some of the individual stories, but why did I need to remember?
Why was it so important to pass the stories on?
Only by sitting down and tackling the
question to the essay contest was I able to truly internalize the
Holocaust's impact and to understand its relevance to today's world. The
process of writing this essay also made me realize that my generation has
the power and responsibility to change the injustice in this world. The
essay question asked: how can we reduce prejudice in this world? At first,
this seemed like an impossible--almost unrealistic--question, but when I
sat down to think about, I realized how clear of an answer there was and
this gives me much hope for the future.
The selection of these students,
teachers, and survivors is what made the trip as
meaningful as it was. The design of the program is unique in that we are
given so much time to get to know the survivors on a personal, one-on-one
level. To talk over the dinner table with the survivors, to sit on the
buses with them, to tour the Holocaust museum with them and be able to
have them intertwine their own experiences with the displays in the museum
was incredible! And then, to go home and read the books we received from
the trip! Wow. I so much appreciated how I could carry home with me their
stories. As I read Leo's book, I could hear his voice reciting each and
every word. Sometimes, I could see his hand motions as he told the story.
This is so special to me because I know that Leo will always live in my
memory through his book and through the personal connections we have made
on the trip.
Great Neck, New York
"I can honestly say that the week in Washington,
D.C. had a profound impact on me and my perspective of the Holocaust.
Spending the week with the survivors and listening to their testimonies
was especially rewarding."
Blythewood, South Carolina
"Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to
participate in the Holocaust Remembrance Project last week in Washington,
D.C. I had a wonderful time with all of the participants.
It was obvious to me that
Holland & Knight's commitment and dedication to bearing witness added to
the quality experience that everyone enjoyed. Your program is 'top-notch.'"
Los Angeles, California
"Simple words on a page cannot convey my sincere
gratitude to Holland & Knight for providing me with such a wonderful
experience. The knowledge that I have gained, the friendships I have made,
and the experiences I have had as a result of your dedication to a better
tomorrow will hopefully serve us all for the better.
Thanks again for the
truly incredible experience and for your motivation and dedication to such
a wonderful cause."
"This trip was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
The friends I made and the opportunities I was given were amazing!
After listening to the Holocaust survivors ... I realized just how
important it is that the remembrance of the Holocaust be passed to future
generations. Thank you for this life-changing experience!"
"The experience was truly wonderful; I spent a full
week with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. It is a
rarity to be among nine 16-18 year-olds with such great empathy for and
interest in the Holocaust, in its survivors and its prevention. I was
delighted to learn that these students were not all Jewish: one girl was
Muslim, and three students were Christian. These non-Jewish students'
dedication to Holocaust studies particularly impressed me; on the trip, it
was emphasized that fighting injustice requires compassion from those not
directly affected by that injustice (the same lesson taught by Pastor
Niemoller's famous poem "And Then They Came For Me").
The most remarkable aspect of the trip, however, was the opportunity to meet survivors. Six Holocaust survivors constituted the most essential part of our group. Five of them shared their stories with us in a group setting, and responded to all of our questions. They survived the Holocaust through diverse means: one woman was saved by Oscar Schindler, another by the Kindertransport; one man lived through months in Auschwitz, another jumped off the cattle car to that camp; and one man posed as a Christian while his family was deported. I had the opportunity not only to hear the stories of these survivors, but also to sit next to them on the bus and talk to them over meals. This personal interaction gave me a more three-dimensional picture of these individuals, not only as survivors but also as people enjoying life. I was amazed to find smiles and laughter amidst individuals who had witnessed some of the worst horrors imaginable to humankind.
I consider my trip to Washington an extraordinary learning experience; if I had not won the contest, or received any scholarship, I still would have been given the greatest prize.
Montvale, New Jersey
"The Holocaust Remembrance Project has been by far, the
best education tool/opportunity project that in which I have been
involved. Meeting with the survivors and touring the Holocaust Museum with
them was an event that I won't forget. The trip to Washington DC and
actually meeting and spending time with those involved in the Holocaust,
made the holocaust 3-dimensional. It took what was 2-dimensional in a
book, and added the dimension of humanity.
Thank you so much to Holland & Knight for allowing me
this opportunity, which has been life-changing. Also thank you for the
more than generous supply of books that was given to us teacher. It
greatly enriched my library, which I share with my students."