Student Letters

These are letters written by students who participated in the Wings Of Witness Workshops

When you came on Friday because of the "Wings of Witness" program, you made me think about how racism is a bad thing. You made me think about how many innocent people died, especially innocent little children. You made me think about my own future. After September 11, many people in this country blamed the entire Muslim population for the hideous act of a few terrorists who happened to be Muslim. These men also killed innocent people. It is a shame that humanity did not learn enough from the Holocaust to prevent September 11 from happening. As a Muslim person, I am ashamed of the terrorists who caused suffering to thousands of people. Therefore, I could relate to what you told us about the Holocaust because I felt the pain and suffering of the children who experienced a tragedy at such a young age. Thank you for your contribution to achieve understanding between the people who happen to be different from one another. Keep up the good work.

7th Grade Student, Pierre Van Cortland Middle School, New York 

Last week, a man named Mr. Schrier came to our school. He wanted us to help him make butterfly shaped wings for a Holocaust memorial made out of 6 million pop-tops. He was going around the country asking other kids do the same thing.

I felt that his was important to me because my grandfather was in Auschwitz for four months before the war ended. Except for him, his entire family was killed. Murdered. I dedicated every single pop-top I used to every single member of my grandfather's family who died there. On Friday, I will bring in translated postcards from Vienna, Austria in 1938

John Paul Courtney, 7th Grade Student, Pierre Van Cortland Middle School

See John Paul's Memorial to his Grandfather who survived three concentration camps and to his other family members destroyed by the Nazis.

I think Mr. Schrier's idea with the feathers made out of soda can tabs was very creative. It was a really good way for him to connect with our history and abused ancestors. I liked it because he took something that we use, see, and throw away in everyday life, and turned it into a historic monument. It might not have meant much to many, but for others it was a historical symbol. It seems like it's going to take a lot of time, community participation, and a lot of hard work to compete the butterfly. To make it into a butterfly was a very interesting idea. He takes the story about the Spanish Ghetto and turns it into a very interesting, sad story. It is good that he acted upon the acts of the Holocaust and let everybody take part in it to help him out. Everybody seemed so willing and caring to help him out. And I finally realized how many people were killed during the tragedy. I can't and don't even want to imagine if each cap was the size of an adult how big the butterfly would be. I don't think that I'll ever forget what he did for everybody. I hope that one day, I'll actually see his work art, the butterfly. I will be able to tell my children or grandchildren that I helped him with that piece of work. 

7th Grade Student, Pierre Van Cortland Middle School, New York 

Dear Mr. Jeffrey Schrier,
I would just like to thank you for giving up your time to talk to me about the holocaust. I think what you are trying to accomplish is so wonderful. Because if we were to look at something like the butterfly every day we would be reminded of the holocaust and the horrible things Adolph Hitler tried to accomplish. If we were reminded of these horrible things he did every day then the chances of something like this happening again would be really rear. I also think that not that many people would try to honor the Jews like you are. So I think you are one of god's angels because you are helping out gods chosen people. The experience with the wings of witness helped me understand better how many people actually died and how horrible it was, because I used to think Hitler was a genius but now I think he is a lame. Thank you again.
Sincerely, Student, Rio Contiguo School


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Student Memorials, Poetry, Art