Holocaust Contests Cultivate Compassion

Seven Chaminade Julienne seniors earned prizes and recognition for sweeping all the top awards in the annual Holocaust Writing Contest sponsored by the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center; however, the true take-away for students was the lasting and deepened sense of understanding and compassion each gained for all those affected by the tragedy about which they wrote.

“We’re all a part of God’s family,” said Elizabeth Wirrig, ’11, first place winner in the Division II (grades 9-12) poetry category. She submitted a series of poems titled, People, Knowledge, One Wish, Only If.., Peace, and Opposites after taking Mr. Jim Brooks’ European Authors class.

Wirrig, who is Catholic and a member of the school’s FLIGHT (Faith Leaders In God’s Hands Today) program, said she felt it was important to remember the Christian value of unconditional love for others during the observance of Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“You’re supposed to care about everyone, no matter what they believe in,” she said. The CJ senior attended the Dayton Area Yom Hashoah Observance: A Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust on May 1 with some of her classmates, where the winners of the writing contest and the Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest were announced.

Dr. Henry Fenichel, a Holocaust survivor and University of Cincinnati professor, performed the duties of guest speaker Sunday evening and shared stories of his experiences living in two concentration camps—Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen—at the age of six during the Nazi invasion of Europe.

“To hear what Dr. Fenichel had lived through and to see that he moved on with his life and continued to do great things was really inspiring,” said Tiffani Kossoudji, ’11. Her essay Living in Peace, which focused on the contest’s theme of taking the lessons learned from the Holocaust to create a better future, was awarded first place in the prose category.

“The Holocaust is a big historical event and people need to know what went wrong,” she said. “We need to learn from the past so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Holocaust Writing Contest Division II (grades 9-12)

Prose Category

  1. *Tiffani Kossoudji ‘11
  2. Liam Rolfe ‘11
  3. Catherine Peterson ‘11

Poetry Category

  1. *Elizabeth Wirrig ‘11
  2. Maggie Cleary ‘11
  3. Ricky Nelson ‘11
  • Honorable Mention: DeVante Carmichael ‘11

*Received a $100 cash prize.


Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest Division II (grades 9-12)

  • Honorable Mention: Maggie Cleary ‘11