Glen Cove HS Students Document the Holocaust with Survivors


In conjunction with their studies of the Holocaust, students in Caitlin Donovan’s Honors Social Studies class and students enrolled in Chris Barry’s Television Production program at Glen Cove High School have been collaborating on a mini documentary for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. For several weeks students in Ms. Donovan’s class have been researching the backgrounds of nine Holocaust survivors in preparation to conduct on-camera interviews with them. As part of their research students also visited the Holocaust Center, which is located in Glen Cove.

Each of the nine survivors visited Glen Cove High School to have informal chats with the Social Studies students before telling their stories under the bright lights of the TV production studio’s camera. One survivor shared with students how he was one of only 11 people to escape a particular concentration camp where more than 6,000 people were killed. Another survivor told of how, as a young child on the run, he and his family were allowed to go free by a Nazi soldier because the soldier himself had a young child. Yet another survivor told of how he saved his family’s life because he insisted they be spared when the Nazis told him they would keep him alive because of his mechanical skills. Many of the survivors, including Janet Ettelman (pictured), shared intricate details about the life and the times, not only overseas, but also when they arrived in the United States.

Tenth-grader Patrick Falk said he was pleasantly surprised to learn about the sponsorship programs that were put into place when Holocaust survivors first arrived in the U.S. According to the Ms. Donovan and Mr. Barry, all of the students asked great questions of their interviewees.

Now that the interviews are near completion, the TV production students will work together with Ms. Donovan’s class on the final editing of the documentary, which will be unveiled at a special screening reception at the Holocaust center before the end of the school year. All nine survivors, as well as all of the students and teachers who worked on the project, will be invited to the screening.

Officials from the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County approached Glen Cove District Coordinator for Social Studies and English Melanie Arfman about involving Glen Cove High School students in the making of a documentary for the center. The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center teaches the history of the Holocaust and the lessons learned from this historical tragedy through education and community outreach. Lessons cover the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism, bullying and all other manifestations of intolerance and promote resistance to prejudice and advocate respect for every human being.