HALB Middle School’s culminating event of Names, Not Numbers©, a Holocaust education program developed by Tova Fish-Rosenberg and coordinated at HALB by Mrs. Rina Korman and overseen by Mrs. Marjorie Wein, took place virtually on Wednesday evening, June 10. Names, Not Numbers© is a copyrighted oral history film project and curriculum in which students learn about the Holocaust. It is project-based learning at its finest, with the goal of producing a movie based on the research of the students.

Eighth graders at HALB engaged in the unique multidisciplinary learning experience that combines research, video production, interviews, documentary film tools, and film editing. After several educational sessions on the Holocaust and a visit to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the 44 participating students were given the opportunity to interview and videotape survivors. This is the highlight of the program and curriculum: a one-and-a-half-hour-long videotaped interview that each group of students conducted with a survivor.

This year, HALB students were privileged to have the following survivors speak with its students: Mrs. Eva Evans, Mrs. Goldie Goldblatt, Mrs. Hilda Hamada, Mrs. Martha Klein, Mr. Sam Moskowitz, and Mrs. Marlit Berger Wandel. Their interviews were edited and combined into the documentary film shown on Wednesday evening to participating students, their families, their peers, and hundreds in the larger HALB community, along with the remarkable survivors and their families. Graduating students Talia Traube and Zachary Pockriss spoke at the event, discussing their meaningful experience and takeaways from their participation in Names, Not Numbers©. It was a moving and memorable evening for all.

Mr. Michael Adler, grandson of survivor Mrs. Hamada and father of Jacob, a HALB eighth grader whose group interviewed her, remarked, “It meant so much to my family to have my grandmother included in this year’s project. It took 99 years to get her to truly open up about what happened. Now Jacob and his classmates can pass down her story, and that of all the survivors, to the next generation.”

HALB gratefully acknowledges the Names, Not Numbers© Program, which enabled our students to learn about the Holocaust through the accounts of eyewitnesses, provided them with interviewing, filming, and editing skills, and, most importantly, fostered meaningful relationships between the survivors and our students. HALB has benefited tremendously from its participation in this project over the past six years and looks forward to next year’s program.