U.S. History students’ trip to the Holocaust Museum leaves many inspired


Students were able to experience the impact of terrible statistics such as these on Jewish lives by visiting Farmington Hills’ Holocaust Museum.

Angela Mammel, Entertainment Editor

On Friday, February 19th, U.S History students visited Farmington Hills’ Holocaust Museum. This hands-on experience exposed these students to the terror of that event, as well as further enriching their studies. U.S. history teacher Mrs. Jessica Bastian explains how this visit tied into her classes’ curriculum.

The field trip to the Holocaust museum ties directly into the WWII unit that the US History courses were learning about, and I hope it gave my kids even more of a sense of perspective on this event,” Mrs. Bastian said. “At the museum we took a 90 minute guided tour where the students were able to see artifacts and footage from the holocaust, and heard Paula Bolton, a holocaust survivor, speak and share her remarkable story. This really inspired many people, including myself.”

Sophomore Allie Coutilish explains the impact of the trip on her personally.

“It was really interesting and moving, and I definitely learned a lot,” Coutilish said. “It was very impactful, especially the part where we heard from [Mrs. Bolton], who was so strong and inspiring, and also like the nicest person in the world.”

Mrs. Bastian elaborates on the impact the survivor’s tale of being brave against the face of absolute terror had on herself and her students.

“The ability to see a survivor of the Holocaust speak and share their story in person is something that is a one of a kind experience,” Mrs. Bastian said. “Her story was one of endurance, and she showed unbelievable courage and resolve while living through the awful atrocities committed by the Nazis.”

Coutilish felt that Mrs. Bolton’s story as well as other exhibits at the museum put the terrible event into perspective for her.

“You always hear about the Holocaust in school and think that it’s a terrible thing,” Coutilish said. “But in the museum we got to hear the survivor speak and also see the inside of a boxcar, and it just really let us know from a first-hand experience how awful and horrendous everything was during that time.”

Sophomore Iris Stamps agrees that hearing the survivor speak was very inspiring, but she also believes the information about Jewish culture and treatment during the Holocaust provided during the trip made students realize the extent of how terrible everything was.

“There was a section in the museum tour that explained the religious beliefs of the Jews and their day-to-day culture,” Stamps said. “It showed a Russian town that was entirely made of Jewish people because in that day and age, they weren’t allowed to be intermixed in other towns, and it definitely put more perspective on the whole thing.”

Coutilish also came away from the trip with a determination to not let history repeat itself.

“I just really learned not to let history repeat itself and to treat everyone as equals,” Coutilish said. “Going through the museum really gave me a sense of perspective on the whole thing, and it shocked me how all of this terror could happen, but it was definitely very impactful.”

Mrs. Bastian and many of her students took away how the Holocaust survivor had an attitude of nothing but love towards the world throughout her journey through this violent time.

The one thing that stuck with me and a lot of my students was Mrs. Bolton’s ability to love and not hate during the Holocaust,” Mrs. Bastian said. “One of the things she said numerous times was that she ‘loved the whole world and didn’t have any hate in [her],’ and her resolve and courage was very inspiring.”

Stamps also further learned to love others from this trip, as well as standing up for them at all costs.

“The museum trip really showed me to be kind and truly love people,” Stamps said. “It also taught me to not be a bystander, and to stand up for the mistreatment of others instead of letting it slide. Being a bystander is just as bad as being the perpetrator of violent actions.”