Holocaust history raises important questions about what the international community and the United States could have done to stop the rise of Nazism in Germany and its assault on Europe’s Jews. Once war began, Allied governments prioritized the military defeat of Germany over humanitarian efforts. Yet during this time some action was taken by individuals and, limitedly, by the U.S. government in response to the increasingly dire situation of European Jews.
A successful essay or documentary entry will address both portions of the following prompt. At minimum, one-fourth of the finished work must be devoted to the REFLECTION.
RESEARCH: Describe the motivations and outcomes of a non-military action or policy taken by the U.S. government or American citizens to address the persecution of European Jews between 1933 and 1945. Discuss how these actions impacted the European Jewish community or Jewish individuals, citing specific examples.
REFLECTION: Based on your research, what responsibility do you believe the U.S. has toward refugees and immigrants in today’s world?
MCHE urges students to tour USHMM’s online exhibition “Americans and the Holocaust” to gain essential background information about this contest topic. USHMM estimates that it will take one hour to explore the online exhibit. Specific documents, photographs, videos, maps, and artifacts from this exhibit will be used as primary sources for the White Rose Research Contest. Touring the online exhibit will help students understand how these individual pieces of evidence fit into the whole. We also recommend that students explore the Personal Stories portion of the online exhibition. An interesting research topic may be found in these stories!
Students–The following contest rules govern the use of sources:
MCHE White Rose Research Contest Guide for Educators and Students
The White Rose Research Contest is open to students in 8th through 12th grades.
Entries are accepted in two categories–essay or documentary.
Entrants compete in two age divisions–Lower (8th and 9th Grade) and Upper (10th, 11th, and 12th Grade).
Students may submit one entry in one contest category per year. Students may enter the contest every year they are eligible. Previous winners may enter gain.
Sponsoring teachers may enter the ten best essays and the ten best documentaries created by their assigned students during a contest year. (Please consult the scoring rubrics for detailed criteria.)
General Contest Rules
Contest Rules for Written Work
Contest Rules for Audio-Visual Work
A documentary is an audio/visual presentation that uses many types of sources such as still images, video, and sound to communicate a historical argument, supported by research, and a reflection on this year’s contest prompt.
Entrants submitting a documentary must also submit a Process Paper that answers the following questions:
The end of the documentary must show a list of credits that acknowledges the sources of still images, moving images, interviews, information used in narration, and music used within the film/video. These source credits must be brief—not full bibliographic citations and not annotated. However, these credits should match the citations on the Works Cited page that must accompany the Process Paper. (See Contest Rules for Written Work above and on the downloadable White Rose Contest Guide.)
Documentaries should be saved in mp4 format, submitted as a YouTube link. Finalists may be asked to submit the mp4 files of their documentaries to MCHE. (See Additional Format Instructions for Process Papers on the downloadable White Rose Contest Guide.)
MCHE encourages teachers to utilize this research contest as a classroom exercise.
Sponsoring teachers are limited to submitting no more than ten essays and ten documentaries per age division per contest year. Teachers, you are the first White Rose judges! Please use the contest scoring rubrics to determine the most worthy contest candidates among your students’ entries.
If several teachers within the same school are working with their students on the White Rose contest, each of those teachers may submit up to ten essay and ten documentary entries. Please assign one sponsoring teacher to each entry even if a team of teachers worked with students together.
The following resources may be helpful to both teachers and students:
Contest entries will be evaluated in two rounds of judging.
View the scoring rubric for essay entries.
All White Rose Finalists and their sponsoring teachers will be recognized in early May at MCHE’s Academic Awards Ceremony.
Winners of each contest category and age division will be announced at the ceremony. Winners will be asked to read their essays or screen their documentaries for the assembled audience.
Contest winners in each category and age division will receive a $300 prize.
Sponsoring teachers of each winner will be awarded a voucher worth $150 of Holocaust-related books, instructional materials, or professional development workshops.
2022-2023 Contest Theme: Jewish Resistance in the Ghettos
RESEARCH: Describe the goals and obstacles to one specific form of Jewish resistance in the ghettos. Explain how that method was used by one Jewish person or group.
REFLECTION: Consider the Kansas City Holocaust memorial and Nathan Rapoport’s Memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After researching several types of resistance, why do you think that memorialization disproportionately focuses on armed resistance? How might you elevate forms of non-armed resistance in memorialization efforts.
Note that the word allowance has been changed for the new contest year. 2022-2023 contestants worked within a 1,200-word limit for essays and a 500-word limit for process papers. The time restraints on documentaries have not changed.
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