Students' symbolic collection recalls Holocaust

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2001

WHITWELL, Tenn. (AP) -- A group of Whitwell Middle School students hope to collect 6 million paper clips, symbolizing the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust. The project is part of an after-school program to help students better understand hate crimes and the millions of lives they have claimed.

The Holocaust Group was started two years ago in this small town of about 1,600, located nearly 20 miles northwest of Chattanooga. About two dozen students meet once a week to read literature from the period, write letters and count paper clips. The clips were chosen because Norwegians wore them on clothing during World War II as a silent protest against Nazism and anti-Semitism.

''They could not believe that people in Europe and the United States could allow such unspeakable horrors to happen,'' teacher Sandra Roberts and assistant principal David Smith say in a letter to prospective paper clip donors.

So far, the students have collected close to 2 million paper clips. They say it may take another two years before they reach their goal. But until then, the students continue to receive up to 40 packages a day, with about half them coming from faraway senders, including some in Germany.

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