What many students don’t realize about the Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library is that it has a counterpart. The Rogers Center for Holocaust History and the Stern Chair in Holocaust Education were established as a gift by Barry and Phyllis Rogers and Ralph and Sue Stern.
With the help of The 1939 Society, one of the largest Holocaust survivor organizations in the United States, the Rogers Center sponsors an art and writing competition for middle school and high school competitors every year. You can find some of these artworks on display in the memorial library.
This contest focuses on themes of the Holocaust and ethical decision making in present time in order to provide students the opportunity to creatively express their response to survivor testimonies.
The awards ceremony, hosted in March, sees representatives and educators from every school involved gathering to meet some of the Holocaust survivors. The most recent ceremony was this year on March 4th.
This time around, 203 schools from 20 states, including California, and three countries (Poland, Canada, and South Africa) registered to participate. The first place recipient this year came from Johannesburg, South Africa.
It takes the whole year to prep for this event, from sending out the prompt to workshopping with teachers, according to director, Marilyn Harran. All this leads up to the awards ceremony, which also needs to be planned for, in March.
The Rogers Center also takes part in providing the lecture series on Holocaust history. Speakers on the topic are booked to visit campus and give lectures over the course of the year. Students voluntarily attend these events to learn more about and engage with the history.
Just last October, a Chapman University faculty panel presented on the looted art during the time of the Holocaust. This was just after and in relation to the screening of Woman in Gold in September.
More information about the history of the Rogers Center and its member can be found on Chapman’s website. Just use the search bar to find the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library’s page.