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The first idea to start the project began when neo-Nazis were marching through Trmice several years ago. Our former students became quite confused and needed to often discuss that situation. By coincidence, during our literature lessons we were reading a story about a girl whose life ended in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Due to this occurrence of events, we began to understand that the Holocaust had not just been a chapter in history textbooks, which could be closed and victims could be counted. We began to see that the Holocaust continues to be a threat, that it can have a different form and aim at somebody else, and that it can be repeated.

Therefore, it became clear to us that we have to talk about the Holocaust; and the best way will be to discuss it through stories, not through numbers. That is why we chose the project of the Jewish Museum in Prague – Neighbors Who Disappeared. It is a long-term successful project which urges students of primary and secondary schools to search for people in their neighbourhoods whose disappearance is related to the Holocaust. For two years, our group of 6th to 9th grade students were searching for the fate of five children of Salomon Langweil, native of Budyně nad Ohří. During this search we got to know the Theresienstadt Ghetto, Small Fortress, objects of the Jewish Museum in Prague, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial Museum. We searched at the Jewish cemetery in Budyně nad Ohří. We visited and investigated the Ústí nad Labem Town Archive and the State Regional Archive (SRA) in Litoměřice. We worked with scans of documents of the National Archive in Prague and SRA Litoměřice. We also explored on-line databases (holocaust.cz, Yad Vashem database, name search engines of the Theresienstadt Memorial...). We consulted historians of the Theresienstadt Memorial and the Jewish Museum in Prague. Our research was also conducted on Facebook or by e-mail. We heard testimonies of witnesses, worked with period documents, family correspondence and pictures.

In the fall of 2014 we narrowed our investigations and started producing a final outcome. At that time, we also divided our team into two groups. The first group led by Jindřiška Waňková was preparing final texts, pictures for posters, and also documents for the film “Dearest Helenka”. The second group under the leadership of Jitka Löblová began making an animated cartoon which would show to an audience of all ages the fate of the Jewish population in Bohemia and Moravia in 1938 – 1945. During the film production we cooperated with the ULTRAFUN association, which prepared for us several workshops on making cartoons. Drahoslav Straněk, conductor of our school orchestra called Trmi©kus composed a film music.

Resources for our work are given HERE