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MOTH Visits HOLADuring the month of March, HOLA’s high school department forged a partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH). The four-week project started with a docent led tour of the LAMOTH. The students have all studied the Holocaust in school, but visiting the LAMOTH gave them a whole new perspective. Emmanuel was surprised by the sheer volume of interviews that he could watch and in particular that the survivors spoke so many different languages. “I didn’t realize how many different countries the victims came from.”

The day after the visit to the LAMOTH, Jordanna Glasser, Education Programs Manager at the Museum, came to HOLA to meet with the students in small groups to talk about their visit. This was a profound afternoon for many of the students as they explored the importance of stories in their own lives, the way in which stories preserve memories in their families. The students discussed how stories humanize people or groups of people that they might not know very much about. They explored the power of stories and how stories can combat stereotypes and hate.

The third interaction was a visit to HOLA by Gabriella Karin and Helen Freeman, two Holocaust survivors. Gabriella is a docent at the LAMOTH and Helen and her late husband were early founding members of the LAMOTH community. Lesly, a 10th grade student, was surprised by “how strong and courageous they were to be sharing their stories. They chose not to leave their experiences in the past so that others can learn from them.” Both Itayu and Emmanuel were inspired by the women. Hearing about how they suffered and all that they went through made them feel that no matter how insurmountable their own struggles sometimes feel, if these women could survive what they did, then they can make it through anything. The women’s stories gave Itayu a greater “appreciation for what she has and for her family.”

The last day of the project had the students reflecting through an art activity. This month-long program was an extraordinary opportunity for the HOLA youth to explore the world beyond their own neighborhood and will have a lasting impact. We look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership with the LAMOTH in the years ahead.


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