The opinions expressed in these student films belong to the student filmmakers and do not necessarily express views of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Senior Visual Arts

1st Place - Senior Visual Arts

Sarah Bell
Frank W. Cox High School
Mrs. Van Veenhuyzen


Holocaust Twin Experiments

For this piece, I chose to create a visual representation of twin experimentation that occurred in the Holocaust of World War II. Being a twin in the Holocaust often led others to believe that you were “lucky,” as you might be more likely to survive as a test subject. Mothers were often immediately separated from twin offspring, and as such I portrayed a pregnant woman. During pregnancy, the three family members could survive together before ultimately being torn apart. 

1st Place - Senior Visual Arts

Andy Qian
Cape Henry Collegiate
Mr. Warden


Struggle for Freedom

This oil painting shows a scene from the evil and dark Holocaust. Hands with scars and dust are holding the bars of the cage tightly - they are trying to get rid of the control and limitation. A middle aged man is leaning on the pillar of his cage, sighing and groaning, looking for the freedom and equality he seeks but is not able to have. He is hopeless, as the dark background indicates. Now, in this world, people are often isolated by different kinds of prejudice. Like this artwork shows, people are suffering from the pain but are not able to find relief. 


3rd Place - Senior Visual Arts

Adler Dills
Frank W. Cox High School 
Ms. Van Veenhuyzen


Layers of History 

The layers of the composition represent the multiple cultures and how widespread the Holocaust was. The numbers are real tattoo numbers that victims had tattooed on them. The portrait was based on an old image of a victim, and I used multiple layers to have a sunken in appearance as if the subject was starving. The stars are the ‘Jude’ star that the Jewish people were forced to wear, and the stripes represent the uniform worn at the concentration camps. 

Honorable Mention - Senior Visual Arts

Yezi Liu
Cape Henry Collegiate
Mr. Warden 



In my work Wait, I drew a girl in a dark concentration camp who is looking blankly at a direction of dim light from a window. I present her face emerging from the whole darkness with her thin, dried-up hands laying on the window lattice. Her face and hands are the only things visible in this scene, emphasizing an atmosphere of deprivation of identity and immersion in hopelessness. Brown, grey colors and values dominate her face to express her irreversible terrible health conditions as well as her desperation. Her glazed, pale eyes seek the direction of weak light as she is waiting for something that drags her out of this abyss. She waits for anything that can give her freedom from this moldy jail. 

Chairs’ Choice - Senior Visual Arts

Yuhan Jiang
Cape Henry Collegiate
Mr. Warden



In the painting Away, a gigantic and powerful hand with bloody strings is trying to manipulate a girl, whose hands turn into fire-like power, trying to destroy the strings. The big hand, outlined and shaded by black Sharpie, symbolizes the malicious but formidable power of the Nazis, which forms a great contrast with the girl’s thin body. The background is painted with straight, thick, and forceful dashes, emphasizing the intenseness between the girl and the hand. The girl is actually myself. For me, who was born in China and later studied in America, I found the most powerful way to fight racism is to become more forceful yourself, and not be scared by the malice. The girl is not fully manipulated; she at least tried to break away from the strings, even though her power is not as strong and colorful as the fire. Trying to break away from the darkness is the start of winning. 

Junior Visual Arts

1st Place - Junior Visual Arts

Aidan McDuffie
Great Bridge Middle School
Ms. Moyer


A Bubble of Hope

Anne Frank was an inspiring historical figure during the Holocaust. Despite what was going on in her life, she kept this little bubble of hope with her, hoping the world would become a better place again. In my drawing the words surrounding her in the bubble are inspiring quotes from her diary about how there’s still beauty in the world, and how you’ve got to look on the bright side of things. The Holocaust was a horrifying event we must remember. We must remember who has been murdered, and honor them. The Holocaust affected many people, including me. It’s taught me that we need to be open-minded about people, unlike how Hitler was with Jewish people and many more. We must learn to accept differences in this world. 

2nd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Jenna Stone
Cape Henry Collegiate
Mr. Warden


Angels in the Night

In this piece the Stars of David represent the souls of every Jewish soul lost in the Holocaust. I depicted them as stars because shooting stars are what this piece is comparing them to, and the Star of David is the symbol of their religion. The shooting stars represent how the souls are unique and beautiful and that they should have been as free as a star dancing across the night sky. This represents their rightful place in the universe. 

3rd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Rylie McCready
St. Matthew's Catholic School
Ms. Rorick


The Lost Soul

The Lost Soul represents all of the souls that died in the Nazis’ concentration camps that have been forgotten by today’s modern society. This art project also represents one specific girl that had made it out of Auschwitz alive, named Henia Bryer. The number that you see was her “ID” number when she was held in the Auschwitz concentration camp. My project is simple, raw, and powerful to one’s heart. Millions of Jews were brutally murdered at the hands of terrible Nazi soldiers, and yet some do not even try to think of the pain that each and every one of those people suffered. I feel that in today’s modern society, we do not know and remember enough about the Holocaust. The subject of this project, Henia Bryer, was only fourteen years old when she was taken into her first concentration camp, Majdanek. 

Honorable Mention - Junior Visual Arts

Aspen Knight
Virginia Beach Middle School
Ms. Horner

The Sacrifices of Family


Google describes sacrifice as giving something up in consideration of others. In today’s society, fewer people are willing to make such strides; making the sacrifices of my family so extraordinary. I wanted to communicate my gratefulness through painting. To do this, I used dark colors and chiaroscuro to show how they risk and deprive themselves of opportunities to help us succeed. However, I wanted to make the water green rather than blue because green is associated with growth, and I wanted to symbolize the growth of our family. Additionally, the hands wrapped in chains symbolize the restrictions we place on them. Also, the three of us are less detailed and in a bubble to symbolize how we are still growing, and there is no prediction of how we will be in the future or how the world will look in years to come. 

Chairs’ Choice - Junior Visual Arts

Marieme Reed
Virginia Beach Middle School
Ms. Horner


Chains of Tragedy 
My piece, Chains of Tragedy, is an acrylic painting that represents how human courage years ago, and in the present, can and has affected our everyday lives. The Holocaust was an infamous and horrid event which took place, and it should never be forgotten. During that period in time, millions of men and women lost their lives to this tragedy. I used this piece to explain how we can learn from incidents in the past to make our future better. The two women are the focal point, for women during the Holocaust were undermined and barely got a chance to survive. The woman to the right has gone through many struggles during her lifetime; therefore, she is entangled in chains. To the lower right corner, she is wearing a Star of David armband, which signals that she was a victim of the Holocaust. The chains hang on the woman to the left’s shoulder, symbolizing how we learn from mistakes and tragedies, and how we link the solutions to problems that we may have in the future. The blue light that reflects beautifully off of both women represents a hopeful future, yet there will still be times of sadness and failure. The woman to the left looks forward to face uncertainty. I enjoyed creating this piece because it gave me the opportunity to tell the stories of people who were victims of the Holocaust and people who are soon to face challenges in their lives. I believe that art is a strong medium to tell stories about ourselves and others, and I intend to do that.