How to Connect the Past to the Present
After the death of my Bubbe in 2016, it became my goal to preserve her legacy. My Bubbe was a Holocaust survivor of the Shavli ghetto and the Stuttoff concentration camp. I began to research the Holocaust, eventually pursuing an internship at the Illinois Holocaust museum.
During my junior year of high school, my friend Lila Steinbach connected many Rochelle Zell students with the Illinois Holocaust Museum. We became interns at the Take a Stand Center. We facilitated the Holographic theatre and led special exhibits.
The Holographic theatre allows visitors to converse with a holograph of a Holocaust survivor. While they are not talking to an actual person, it feels as though they truly met a survivor. They build a relationship with a survivor through this incredible technology.
Moreover, whenever I had an opportunity to facilitate special exhibits, I connected with the visitors through education and a shared interest to create a better world. Most recently, I led an exhibit called Memory Unearthed. This exhibit displayed pictures that Henryik Ross, an inmate at the Lodz ghetto, took using a polaroid camera. Visitors learned about the Nazi horrors through the poloroids.
What strikes me the most during my work at the museum is people’s reactions meeting a granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. Many visitors are shocked; they cannot believe that an 18 year old girl has a close relative who survived the Holocaust.
While it does feel as though this tragedy occurred a long time ago in a distant country, we are still living in a world filled with hate. I truly believe that Holocaust education will help contribute to a more just world. Whenever visitors hear from the holographs or enter the special exhibits, they are able to pay witness. We must take these stories and keep them close to our hearts in order to create change in this world.
Noa Mishell is a recent graduate of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, and she is currently a freshman at Emory University. Noa was a Diller Teen Fellowship in 2019. She is passionate about Holocaust education and history.