TENNESSEE, USA – In 1998 eighth grade students at Whitwell Middle School, Tennessee began an after-school study of the Holocaust that led to the students endeavoring to collect six million paper clips representing the number of Jews exterminated by the Nazis.
To date over 30 million paperclips have been sent to Whitwell Middle School. In addition, the project has received over 30 thousand letters, documents, books, and artifacts. All of these have been counted and catalogued by students and are on display in the Children’s Holocaust Memorial Research Room located at the school.
The paper clip collection has become part of the “Children’s Holocaust Memorial” created by the students, staff, and community of Whitwell Middle School. The Memorial consists of an authentic German rail car that was used to transport victims to concentration, labor, and death camps. There is also a monument honoring the children lost in the Holocaust.
Through the efforts of the students, staff, and community of Whitwell, and interested people and groups from all over the world, The Children’s Holocaust Memorial at Whitwell Middle School was dedicated November 9, 2001 with over a thousand people in attendance.
Today, the students serve as docents for the Memorial. They offer student-led tours that include the memorial, rail car and research room. As well as conducting tours, they lead people in learning activities, and respond to enquires about the project. The work of the students is the subject of a documentary film titled “Paper Clips”.
Following the success of the film, a service learning program and an educator’s kit have been developed by One Clip at a Time, a nonprofit organisation based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Whitwell Middle School Website
- One Clip at a Time Website
- Paper Clips Project on Wikipedia
- A Measure of Hope (7 Apr 2001 Washington Post Article)
- The Children’s Holocasut Memorial of the The Official City of Whitwell Website