The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art recently launched the Kinder-Stone Project™ to commemorate children who perished during the Holocaust. Approximately six million Jews were killed by the end of World War II by the Nazis and over one million were estimated to be under the age of 18 at the time of their deaths. Children were often among the first victims sent to their deaths since they were considered non-productive and also symbolized the continued Jewish existence.
Utilizing the central database of survivor’s names at Yad Vashem (the world center for Holocaust research, education, documentation and commemoration) in Jerusalem, the Museum is providing to each touring student a stone bearing the name and age of a child who died. Student visitors then decorate the stones which will become a permanent part of the Community Garden at our partner agency the Jewish Federation. The SMMJA has begun the Kinder-Stone Project™ on a limited, trial basis this spring and student response has been positive. One eleventh-grade student from East Central High School said, “I want to make sure that I really get this right. I want to respect her memory and don’t ever want this to happen to another kid again.”
The Museum works closely with educators in public and private middle and high schools, as well as professors at area universities, to organize group tours that relate to art, Holocaust, and history curriculum. As part of the Any Given Child program that begins in Fall 2013, the Museum will host every seventh grade student from Tulsa Public Schools. These approximately 3,000 students will not only have completed a curriculum developed collaboratively by the Museum and the Council for Holocaust Education but will also participate in a docent-led tour of the Holocaust exhibit. Following a recent tour led by a survivor, a student evaluation said, “Thank you for telling us your stories so that we and future generations can know them. To know history is very important to me as through it, we can know our past and the mistakes of others. We…can know…so that we can prevent these horrible things from happening.”
The Kinder-Stone Project™ will be incorporated into every Any Given Child tour, as well as every tour for area schools and civic groups, resulting in approximately 5,000 completed memorial stones within the first 18 months.