A promise to a Holocaust survivor has motivated a teacher to continue telling the Holocaust story.
Each school year Mike Madden embarks on “The Shoah” program he created to help teach his students the realities, the repercussions and the responsibilities that ensued as a result of the Holocaust.
Madden, a 23-year U.S. history teaching veteran at Clements High School, has a passion for the Civil Rights Movement and ensuring his students believe in and practice the notion of all being equal.
But when it comes to the telling of the Holocaust, Madden becomes more involved because of a promise he made to Holocaust survivor Hannah Pick, a childhood friend of Anne Frank, who died in a concentration camp, but whose diary detailing the Holocaust was published.
Madden visited Israel and Poland in 1998 where Pick told him, “Mike, you are an ambassador to my life. I will not be around here much longer, and it will be up to you and your teachings to continue telling my story, our story, to future generations.
Madden has not failed.
“It became more personal,” Madden said. “I just had textbook knowledge at first.
Then I met a survivor.”
For the past 12 years, Madden has hosted a night called “The Shoah” which is a multimedia docudrama that recounts a soldier’s experience as he liberates a concentration camp and rescues a 10-year-old girl. In conjunction with the docu-drama, Madden’s students display their artwork and expression of the Holocaust.
The Hall of Remembrance comprises creative projects by Clements High School U.S. history students.
“Ultimately, the students learn the lessons of intolerance, hatred, bigotry and prejudice,” Madden said. “They learn what happens when one is superior and one is inferior. Clements is so diverse. So this will teach them that diversity can be a great thing or a curse. If you embrace diversity, then you ensure (the injustice) won’t happen again.”
The annual event that Madden hosts also includes stories from Holocaust survivors. Each year, a new speaker addresses the community and students are allowed to ask questions and take pictures.
Continue reading Telling the Holocaust Story
Read more about diversity