Holocaust Remembrance Service of
Northwest Louisiana

Middle School Competition 2022

To remember the lives that were lost during one of humanity’s worst periods, our community remembers the Holocaust with an annual memorial service. Through our remembering and active cooperation, we strive to obliterate injustice. Because our future is only as strong as our youth, we are continuing our annual writing competition to encourage students to voice their understandings of the tragedy of the past and their hopes for the future.

To Submit Your 2022 Entry, Click Here

The following is an essay written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1946, when she was just thirteen years old! She wrote this a little over a year after Bergen-Belsen was liberated. After reading her essay, there are two prompts you may choose from.

“Our People

The war has left a bloody trail and many deep wounds not too easily healed. Many people have been left with scars that take a long time to pass away. We must never forget the horrors which our brethren were subjected to in Bergen-Belsen and other Nazi concentration camps. Then, too, we must try hard to understand that for righteous people hate and prejudice are neither good occupations nor fit companions. Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim once said, “Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.” In our beloved land, families were not scattered, communities not erased, nor our nation destroyed by the ravages of the World War.

Yet, dare we be at ease? We are part of a world whose unity has been almost completely shattered. No one can feel free from danger and destruction until the many torn threads of civilization are bound together again. We cannot feel safer until every nation, regardless of weapons or power, will meet together in good faith, the people worthy of mutual association.

There can be a happy world and there will be once again, when men create a strong bond towards one another, a bond unbreakable by a studied prejudice or a passing circumstance. Then and only then shall we have a world built on the foundation of Fatherhood of God and whose structure is the Brotherhood of Man.”

After reading the above essay, reflect on Ginsburg’s words. Respond to one of these prompts:

Prompt #1
Write a formal, well-researched essay based on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s speech that she wrote when she was thirteen. Notice her challenge: “We must never forget the horrors which our brethren were subjected to in Bergen-Belsen and other Nazi concentration camps. Then, too, we must try hard to understand that for righteous people, hate and prejudice are neither good occupations nor fit companions.” How do her words apply to our lives today?

Prompt #2
Write a formal, well-researched essay based on a Holocaust rescuer. This person chose not to live a life of prejudice. In your essay, you will examine the research you have learned about a rescuer and convey that information to your audience. Be sure to include details about his or her personal life, the person(s) he or she rescued, and details about the rescue(s), as well as information on WHY that person chose to become a rescuer. In your last paragraph, please tell us how this person’s actions inspire you.

  • Entries MUST be submitted online through our official entry form.
  • Entries must be pre-approved by your teacher.
  • Entries must be a formal, well-researched essay based on one of the two prompts.
    • Entries must be titled.
    • Entries must be between 300-350 words in length
    • Entries must be typed in 12-point Arial font.
  • Entries must NOT include reference to student or school name.
  • Entries must examine the research you have learned about your rescuer and convey that information to your audience.
    • Students must include the name of the rescuer about whom the entry is written.
    • Entries must include details about his or her personal life, the person(s) he or she rescued, and details about the rescue(s), as well as information on WHY they chose to become a rescuer.
  • Submissions must represent the independent work of the student, although teachers may provide grammatical or spelling recommendations.
  • Be sure to acknowledge author of sources within the essay and location of sources at the end of the paper.
  • Include a header on each page with only title of entry and page number.
  • Entries that do not follow the criteria will be disqualified.
  • Originality and creativity
  • Historical accuracy
  • Addresses the contest theme
  • Correct grammar and writing mechanics
  • Acknowledgement of sources within the essay and location of sources at the end of the paper

Contest judges review submissions with no knowledge of the student’s identity, school, or residence. In order to provide them with anonymous papers for judging, the body of the paper should not contain any information identifying the writer. The entry must be the original work of the student. Judges request that teachers review students’ work and submit only entries worthy of being considered for judging. By submitting an entry, you are agreeing to all the judging criteria. The decision of the judges is final.

Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Holocaust Remembrance Committee. Some awards may not be given, depending on the number of entries received and evaluation of merit by the panel of judges.

Entries must be submitted no later than March 1st, 2022.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept submissions that do not adhere to all of these guidelines, that are submitted late, or come from students outside the Northwest Louisiana area (Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Ouachita Parishes). Submissions will be retained by the Northwest Louisiana Jewish Federation, who will have the right to reprint winning entries in publications including local media/newspapers or posted online.

Submit Your 2022 Entry

Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Holocaust Remembrance Committee. Some rewards may not be given, depending on the number of entries received and evaluation of merit by a panel of judges.

  • 1st Place Student: $200 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd Place Student: $100 Amazon Gift Card
  • 3rd Place Student: $50 Amazon Gift Card

*Literary winners will be expected to attend the Holocaust Memorial Service.

  • Teachers with students who submit qualifying entries in the writing competition will each receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
  • Teachers who attend the Holocaust Remembrance Service with at least three of their students will receive an additional $25 Amazon gift certificate. (Teachers who attend the service with students need not have students submit entries to receive an award.)
  • In addition to the winning students, contributing students, institutions, and award-winning teachers will be recognized during the Holocaust Remembrance Service.
  • Schools whose students submit eligible entries will receive $200.

Check out our resource page for links that can help with resources for your entry.

To Submit Your 2022 Entry, Click Here