13th Annual Israel Arbeiter Holocaust Essay Contest

Yom HaShoah: Sunday, May 5, 2019

This Essay Contest is a tribute to Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor and lifelong rights activist who lost several family members in the Holocaust. He is a past president of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to write a 400-800 word essay on the following topic. Essays will be judged on originality, knowledge, style, and depth. Each year, JCRC receives hundreds of essays from schools across Greater Boston.

“To listen to a witness is to become a witness.”
—Elie Wiesel

Holocaust Survivor, teacher, author, and Nobel Peace Prize winner

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports a 57% increase of incidents of hatred such as anti-Semitism, racism, and prejudice (intolerance of others unlike themselves) in the last 2 years. This is the largest increase since the ADL began tracking these incidents in 1979. You can read more about this in a New York Times article here:

There is no greater example of what atrocities can come from anti-Semitism, racism, and prejudice than the Holocaust. You can listen to voices of Holocaust survivors by clicking on the links below. These survivors or others may have also visited your school. By listening to a survivor, you become a witness to history and to their story:

  • What responsibilities do you have as a “witness” when you listen to a survivor or see an act of hatred today?
  • What do you think it means to be a witness?
  • How might studying the history of the Holocaust and listening to a survivor (in person or video) make you a witness?
  • Think about examples from your own experience, your community, or in the world.


Essay contest winners will receive educational scholarships, a trip to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and be recognized at Greater Boston’s Jewish Community Commemoration of Yom HaShoah. This trip is made possible by the support of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston.

Please submit essays in word documents along with name, address, phone number, email, birthday, teacher, grade, and school to Ellen Kaye, at gro.n1569232130otsob1569232130crcj@1569232130eyake1569232130.

Essay finalists will be notified by April 15.

Facing History