Students travel to Holocaust museum

Joey Pavell and Joey Pavell

On Thursday, Feb. 13, students from Ms. Myra Lolkema’s, English, second and third period classes had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Ill. Students were assigned to read “Night” by Elie Wiesel, the real account of a man who suffered through various concentration camps as a teenager.

“Going to the museum was one of those opportunities that kind of presented itself last year. I thought about going to the Shakespeare Museum, but then I saw that Elie Wiesel came to Chicago to open [the museum] when it first opened. So, I did a little bit of research and realized it would be a very good opportunity. The museum is presented in a format where students can understand what it is to be an upstander rather than a bystander, so it brings the book ‘Night’ to a current time, and shows how it affects us now and how we can apply the book to the way we treat others,” Ms. Lolkema said.

Once inside the museum, students were able to view numerous photo galleries, sculptures and artifacts. After viewing they were able to listen to the story of a Holocaust survivor whose mother put him on the Kindertransport, a rescue mission that took Jewish children to the United Kingdom to be adopted by foster families. The survivor’s entire family perished in the Holocaust.

“My favorite part of the museum was meeting a survivor who talked to us about his experiences. I thought the museum was very moving. It was so dark, and all the pictures described clearly what happened there. It was very touching,” Brett Balicki (10) said.

In coming years Ms. Lolkema plans to return to the museum with her future classes.

“The feedback has been really good. All of the kids liked [the museum] a lot. I asked them what they got out of it, what they thought was the best part and the worst part, and so far standing for several hours listening to a bunch of dates has been quoted the worst part of it, so I consider that a win situation. So, as long the school will let me, I will continue going,” Ms. Lolkema said.