The vibrancy of Jewish life in Europe was extinguished virtually overnight. From the Nazi takeover of power in 1933 to the German armed forces surrender in 1945, two out of every three European Jews had been murdered. Six million Jews perished – a number so incomprehensible, where does one even begin to unpack the enormity of the events and their consequences?
Trunks of Hope seek to humanize and to personalize the story of the Holocaust by honoring and memorializing a survivor. Using a Trunk as a teaching tool beckons you to bear witness to the complex and profound journey of an individual eyewitness from trauma to triumph. With your students you will analyze artifacts within their historical context and explore what they reveal about the experiences of that eyewitness. Engaging with the Trunks of Hope materials through an empathetic lens of inquiry will nurture in your students a sense of responsibility to become active global citizens fighting hatred, intolerance, and injustice in our world today.
Trunks of Hope is a project created by Voices of Hope and its Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach (HERO) Center. It is based on the exhibit Hartford Remembers the Holocaust, originally housed at the Museum of Jewish Civilization at the University of Hartford. From 2016 to 2020, student groups visited the exhibit to learn more about our local survivors, how we remember the Holocaust, and why it is important for the future. In 2020, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Voices of Hope, The HERO Center, The Maurice Greenberg Center at the University of Hartford, and a group of dedicated educators spearheaded the task of transitioning the physical exhibit to a virtual one. The Connecticut Remembers the Holocaust virtual exhibit houses these testimonies as well as lesson plans and supplementary curriculum to assist educators across the state.
Now that students are back in the classroom, it is time to reinvent these materials in a way that reflects the needs of our schools. We are grateful to our survivors and their families for their support and cooperation as we built this educational tool. It is their kindness and dedication that enables us to pursue our mission to create a culture of courage to stand up against hatred through Holocaust and genocide education and remembrance.
We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support and assistance in producing this project:
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
At the time of the creation of the virtual exhibit:
Museum Director and Exhibit Creator: Prof. Avinoam Patt
Exhibit Designer: Dreanna Hadash
Exhibition Videos: Steve Shaw and Nild Sansone
Special thanks to Susan Fishman, Whitey Jenkins, and Nild Sansone for exhibition planning assistance
The HERO (Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach) Center Director: Kimberly Ballaro
CT Remembers the Holocaust is a joint project of Voices of Hope, the HERO Center, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, and the University of Connecticut Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.
CT Remembers the Holocaust curriculum design: Elizabeth Devine and Tracey Wilson