Film Essay Contest

Memories make us who we are. While our memories are unique to us as individuals, we also share memories with others, including our families, friends, and communities. Through memories we share both joy and sadness, celebration and loss. Survivors and rescuers of the Holocaust had many of the same experiences and, in their testimonies, express memories shaped by these experiences and by each individual's unique identity. No two Holocaust survivors' or rescuers' testimonies are the same although they recount many of the same experiences and emotions.

We each listen and interpret memories in our own way as well, shaped in part by our interests, experiences, and memories. As we listen to a rescuer's or survivor's testimony, one memory may especially capture our attention and imagination. We may feel as if the survivor or rescuer is speaking directly to us. When that happens, memory has become message.

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, author, teacher, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, believed that memories of the Holocaust can become messages. When that happens, the past becomes present to us and brings us into the world of the survivors and rescuers. Professor Wiesel said “when you listen to a witness, you become a witness."

We can never experience what the survivors and rescuers of the Holocaust lived through. Our memories and theirs will never be the same, but by listening to their memories, we can become witnesses to their experiences. We can become their messengers of memory.

In Memory of Jacob Friedman

Open to students in grades 5-12 in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska | Entries accepted February 1 - May 1, 2018  Download Flyer. 

Through your creativity in poetry, prose, art or film, respond to the following quote:
(*Film category open to high school students only)

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

- Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1986 



$200 - 1st Place
$100 - 2nd Place
$50 - 3rd Place

Prizes will be awarded by category. Winning entries will be displayed at the Holocaust Center, at events, and in publications throughout the year. Winners will be announced in June and recognized at an awards ceremony in mid-July 2018. Teachers of 1st place winners will receive $50. Teachers whose entire class enters will receive a gift. 




SUBMISSION FORM: Every entry must have a completed submission form. If you are uploading your entry, you will fill out the submission form online. Otherwise, you should complete this submission form and mail it or email it attached to your entry. 

WRITING: Writing can be prose, essay, poetry, or play. 1000 words or less.

ART: Size 18”x24” or smaller. Art must be flat. We cannot accept sculpture or 3D art. Art piece must include an artist’s statement, no more than 100 words, describing your piece. Please use fixatives on charcoal and pastel.

FILM:(High school only) A short film, 3 minutes or less. Film may be dramatic, documentary, or story. We cannot accept Powerpoint, Prezi, or performance art. Do not use copyright images or music without permission or giving credit.


Categories: Middle School Writing (5th-8th grade); High School Writing (9th-12th grade); Middle School Art (5th-8th grade); High School Art (9th-12th grade); High School Film (9th-12th grade). A student may enter one piece in each category (writing, art, film), but each student can only win in one category.

Judging: Entries are reviewed by a panel of judges.

Citations: All books, websites, films, photographs, and artwork referenced or used in your submission must be cited in a bibliography.  Art—If you are making an artistic representation of an existing photo or piece of art, be sure to cite it. Film—do not use copyright images or footage without permission and reference. Need help finding images and footage? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Will my entry be returned? What are the judges looking for? What resources do you suggest? Click here for FAQ's. 

More: Group and class projects are welcome. | If you want your entry returned, you must enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.| Entries that do not follow the guidelines or that do not include a submission form or artist’s statement will be disqualified. | Entries will become the property of the Holocaust Center for Humanity. | The Holocaust Center reserves the right to publish and/or display all work.


See the 2017 Winners


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