The Northern Light | By Stefanie Donahue

Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity has awarded Blaine Middle School student Diana Kovtun second place for an art piece she submitted for the organization’s annual Writing, Art and Film Contest.

The nonprofit celebrated its 25th year hosting the contest, which is open to students in grades 5 — 12. This year’s prompt related to a recent honor awarded to Seattle, after it was chosen as one of the 11 places in the United States to care for a sapling from a chestnut tree cherished by Anne Frank.

The prompt, “How does this tree, and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you and others?” garnered a response from about 900 students from 60 schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

“The contest is important because it gives students a creative outlet to express some, at times, heavy and difficult concepts,” said Holocaust Center education associate Julia Thompson.

Most often, the prompts encourage kids to consider the experience of a local holocaust survivor, she said. Ultimately, the mission is to encourage kids to not only be open to learning, but also to take action in their own communities.

The contest is only one component of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s education. The organization also offers several exhibitions and resources for teachers, including trainings, speaker opportunities and more.

Sixth grade student Kovtun attended the award ceremony in July with support from her teacher Paul Minckler. “The small sapling also illustrates that there is still hope for the survivors and their families and the hope has come,” Kovtun said in a statement.

See Diana's art piece here

Sammamish Review | August 3, 2016 | By Sarah Troy | Several Eastside Catholic School students received awards for their submissions in the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2016 Writing, Art and Film Contest.

More than 900 students from 70 schools participated in this year's contest. Students were asked to respond to the question “How does the Anne Frank Tree sapling (recently planted in Seattle) and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you?”

Aava Sikchi, a middle schooler from Issaquah, and Sammamish 10th-grader Kyle Jenkins each earned first place honors for their written essays. Sophomore Emmie Head’s written submission earned an honorable mention.

Several Eastside Catholic sophomores were also recognized for their film entries in the contest. Mitch Flippo (Bellevue) and Sarah Troy (Sammamish) tied for second, and Sacha Mallalieu (Sammamish) and Mina Head (Sammamish) placed third.

Established in 1989, the Holocaust Center for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that strives to teach tolerance to schools and communities in the Pacific Northwest through lessons of the Holocaust.

See all of the winners and their projects

Chimacum Middle School eighth grader Eva Casey stands with her teacher Gretchen Berg, at a July 24 ceremony for the Holocaust Center for Humanity's annual Writing and Art Contest. PTLeader.com | Eva Casey, an eighth-grader at Chimacum Middle School, recently won first place in her age group in the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s annual Writing, Art & Film Contest.

For the past several years, all Chimacum seventh-graders have been given the opportunity to write an entry for this contest as a culminating activity at the end of the unit of study about the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. This year, almost 900 students from 70 schools participated in the contest.

Casey is the second winner from Chimacum. In 2014, Journey Orchanian won second place in the writing portion of the contest.

“The art part of the contest wasn’t easy, but I knew I had an OK idea about what I was going to do,” wrote Casey in an artist’s statement posted on the Holocaust Center's Facebook page. “I wanted to only put the names of victims on the picture at first, but later ,I added survivors to give a sense of hope. It was overwhelming how many names I read; I don’t think I could ever write all of them down. All in all, the tree was hard to work with for me, but the message was great, and I enjoyed drawing it.”

An awards ceremony took place July 24 at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle; Casey's art was used on the front of the ceremony invitations.

View the award winners. 

Auburn Reporter | Aug. 1, 2016Wyatt Pritchard, an eighth-grader from Cascade Middle School, took honorable mention honors for writing at the recent Holocaust Center for Humanity's Writing, Art and Film Contest.

Nearly 900 students, from grades 5 through 12, from more than 60 different schools from throughout the area responded through paintings, essays, sketches, poems and films. The winners were honored July 24 at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.

Pritchard's teacher is Alethea Dozier.

The following is an excerpt from Wyatt's poem: "In a time in your life where you are never certain/if you will live or if you're being watched through the curtain/there is only one thing that refuses to disappear/that this is faith, it make things become clear." (Read Wyatt's poem here.)

For more than 25 years, Holocaust Center for Humanity has been teaching tolerance and citizenship through lessons of the Holocaust and provides inspirational education opportunities and resources to teachers and the community. The center offers teacher training, a speakers bureau of local Holocaust survivors, "travelling trunks," and the writing, art and film contest.

The contest empowers the students to creatively speak out and explore different aspects of their daily lives while engaging with the lessons of the Holocaust.

A full list of the winners and their work is available here.

Lavie and Elbaum - 2016 receiving award at TechnionSAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK (June 15, 2016) — Dr. George Elbaum of San Francisco, a businessman and aerospace engineer, who writes and speaks about his experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on June 5 from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ceremony took place during the Technion Board of Governors (BOG) meeting (June 4-8, 2016) on the university campus in Haifa.
Accompanied by his wife, Mimi Jensen, Dr. Elbaum was recognized for “devotion to the Technion and Israel . . . business accomplishments that have spanned the globe and bridged countries . . . and for sharing (your) story, in order to impart the message of tolerance to present and future generations.”

A steadfast supporter of the Technion and Israel, Dr. Elbaum is an active member of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Directors, the ATS North Pacific Region Board and the Technion Board of Governors.

Together with his wife, he is a Technion Guardian — an honor reserved for those who support the Technion at the highest level. The couple has supported the Technion with gifts that include the George J. Elbaum Fund for the Satell Technion-MIT Leadership Program, the Whiteman International Foundation Fellowships (named after Dr. Elbaum's mother) in the Grand Technion Energy Program, and the Formula Student Race Car project.

Dr. Elbaum was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938. As a child, he was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and lived with a series of Polish families who hid him and his Jewish identity from the Nazis. Only he and his mother survived, as they lost 10 family members to the Holocaust. In 1949, Dr. Elbaum immigrated to the U.S., and in 1955 he enrolled at MIT, where he earned four degrees — a bachelor’s and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics, along with a second master’s and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering.
He began his career in Los Angeles in the aerospace industry, and then moved into the international business arena. In 1972, he co-founded Intertorg, a consulting firm representing American and European corporations in the Soviet Union (including General Motors, U.S. Steel, Reebok, etc.), where he marketed their products and services. After 25 years, he switched gears again, turning to commercial real estate investment and development.

In 2010, he wrote and published Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows, a book of vignettes from his childhood during the Holocaust, and started speaking to student groups across the U.S. and in Poland about survival and tolerance. In 2014, he followed his first book with a second volume, Yesterdays Revisited, about the feedback/letters he’s received from students at the 100-plus venues where he’s spoken.

The five-day BOG meeting was comprised of award ceremonies and dedications, presentations by speakers that included Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis B. Ross, and other events such as an Innovation Panel Discussion, featuring Technion graduates such as Dov Moran, inventor of the DiskOnKey (USB flash drive). Other San Francisco-area participants included Ruth Owades and Lou Lenzen.

Photo: George Elbaum (right) receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie at an awards ceremony on the Haifa campus on June 5, 2016.