The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education is pleased to announce the finalists in its 25th annual White Rose Student Essay Contest.

The Holocaust in the East

Historical events impact individuals in unique and varied ways, framed by many factors including experience, geography, the progression of time. The effort to personalize the history of the Holocaust seeks to counter the perception that there was one universal perspective.

Jews living in Eastern Europe (defined here as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Soviet Union) constituted the largest population of Jews in the world. Beginning with the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Polish Jews faced immediate persecution and acts of violence. By summer 1941, Operation Barbarosa brought total war and genocide to the Jews of eastern Poland and the Soviet Union. Those two years represented a radicalization of Nazi policy toward the Jews that was driven by ideology, conditions of war, and opportunity, culminating in the formulation of the Final Solution.

Students were asked to research the evolution of Nazi policy in one East European country – explaining how that evolution related to the progression of the war and how it was experienced by a Jewish individual or family. In reflecting on their research, students further explored how the Holocaust is memorialized today in the country they studied.

8th-9th Grade Division Winners

First Place-Josie Grosdidier

Second Place- Garrett Griffiths

Third Place- Dasha Sandomirsky

10th-12th Grade Division Winners

First Place- Isabella Allen

Second Place- Kyle Maki

Third Place- Lukas Hawes

8th - 9th Grade Finalists

Ella Burvee—Oxford Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher: Megan Trimble
Annie Fingersh—Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy
Sponsoring Teacher: R. Gina Renee
Lillian Flood—Harmony Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher: Michelle Sutton
Garrett Griffiths—Oxford Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher: Andrea Husted
Elise Grosdidier—Oxford Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher: Andrea Husted
Josie Grodidier—Oxford Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher – Andrea Husted
Zach Hardy—Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy
Sponsoring Teacher – R. Gina Renee
Kevin Li—Harmony Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher – Nancy Torgler
Dasha Sandomirsky—Oxford Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher – Andrea Husted
John Vitha—Aubry Bend Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher – Jon Holsapple

10th - 12th Grade Finalists

Isabella Allen—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Aubrey Badgerow—Lee’s Summit High School
Sponsoring Teacher: Christopher Bobal
Carley Baker—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Lukas Hawes—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
John Lubianetsky—Barstow School
Sponsoring Teacher: Angela Guldin
Kyle Maki—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Josh Rehwaldt—Lee’s Summit High School
Sponsoring Teacher: Christopher Bobal
Rebecca Roth—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teacher: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Hunter Stansfield—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Macy Wright—Lone Jack High School
Sponsoring Teachers: Bailey Appleton & Angela Gottesburen
Members of the White Rose

This year’s contest is made possible by a gift from Katherine DeBruce and by members of MCHE’s White Rose Society.

The contest is named in memory of Hans and Sophie Scholl, German university students who, along with several friends and their professor, were arrested and executed for distributing leaflets denouncing the evils of the Nazi regime. The project commemorates the heroic efforts of these brave young people, members of the White Rose, who gave their lives for the causes of understanding, tolerance, and freedom. May their memories inspire us to reflect upon our own responsibilities as citizens in a democratic nation.

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