• For Teachers & Students
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Elie Wiesel in Buchenwald
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Announcing the 2017 winners of our student essay contest! Read all the winning essays here!

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Student Essay Contest Prompt

On July 2, 2016, activist, professor and Nobel Peace Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel passed away at the age of 87. Born into a Jewish family in a village in northwestern Romania, Wiesel found himself a target of the Nazi Final Solution while still only a teenager. Confined first to ghettos, Wiesel along with his whole family were then deported to the death camps at Auschwitz in 1944. The horrors that he witnessed and suffered at the hands of the Nazis in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, including the deaths of his sister, mother and father, Wiesel documented in his seminal autobiographical work, Night. Since its first publication, Night has been translated into over 30 languages and is regularly read by millions of students each year.

For his human rights activism and campaigns against worldwide genocide and violence, Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

To commemorate the life, courage and achievements of Elie Wiesel, The National WWII Museum is asking middle and high school students to respond to a quote by Wiesel about his life and legacy.

For your essay, middle and high school students will each respond to a different quote by Elie Wiesel from your point of view as a young person coming of age in the twenty-first century. Do you agree or do you disagree with his view? Use the events of World War II and The Holocaust as your starting point, basing your essay in part on America’s involvement in the War. But don’t stop in the past. Use specific examples from your own experiences and/or current events to support your ideas. This is NOT a research paper, and the best essays will NOT be summaries of the past 70 years of American history or foreign policy. Your essay will be judged foremost for its originality, clarity of expression, and adherence to contest theme, as well as its historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Museum staff will read and evaluate entries.


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Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.

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