Artwork and writing by Tri-Valley youth that illustrate the importance of remembering and learning about the Holocaust is now on display at the Pleasanton Library.
Available for viewing since Monday, each of the winning pieces from the East Bay Holocaust Education Center (EBHEC) 2021 High School Art and Writing Contest prompts residents to consider, before giving an interpretive answer to the question, "Why is it important to remember the Holocaust?"
The contest took place earlier during spring and was open to middle and high school students around the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas. EBHEC also approached the city of Pleasanton, which agreed to put the entries on display in the young adult section of the library, where they currently reside.
EBHEC founder Larry Lagin told the Weekly, "We had a good response and were able to reward $3,500 of prize money to these winners," including 15 students from Harvest Park Middle, and Dublin, Livermore, California and Amador Valley high schools.
To spread word about the competition, Lagin said, "We reached out to all the public high schools in the East Bay, and also specifically to the world history teachers and art teachers."
About half of the entrants submitted art pieces -- some colorful, others more muted -- while other contestants chose to express themselves through written word.
"With the writing, they either did poems or prose, or a combination of poetry or prose, and they were quite strong," Lagin said. "There were a few that were based on someone's aunt and uncle, they're Holocaust survivors." Another poem called 'For My Zayde' -- Yiddish for 'grandfather' -- also has personal roots for the writer.
"I just found it very touching and moving, and ... I just found the artwork to be very moving," Lagin added.
The entries were judged by local poet Deborah Grossman and Anne Giancola, visual arts manager for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, both who were "very impressed by the quality of the work," according to Lagin.
A virtual learning series being hosted in August by the Jewish Learning Institute called "Beyond Never Again" aims to examine the Holocaust "and try to understand how we could learn from it, and also look to the future and how to make life better for everyone," Lagin said.
The series focuses on antisemitism, but Lagin said, "Our center basically looks at the Holocaust and tries to apply it to different events of genocide, trying to prevent genocide in general. We're reaching out to people of all faiths."
The winning entries from EBHEC's 2021 High School Art and Writing Contest can be viewed during normal hours in the young adults section at the Pleasanton Library, 400 Old Bernal Ave.
For more information about EBHEC, visit www.ebhec.org.