Thirty-six GEAR UP students from Atoka High School recently traveled to Dallas, TX, to tour the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Museum docent Jeff Weiss greeted the students and gave a brief overview of the museum and its mission.
The tour began in the Holocaust/Shoah Wing, where students learned the history of the Jewish people and their experiences that led to the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Weiss discussed Hitler’s worldview, the Nazi rise to power in Germany during World War II, and the ghettos and concentration and death camps across Europe.
Next, students explored the Human Rights wing and the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights (UDHR) based on four foundations: dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood. Weiss asked students to examine the Wall of Rights and discuss the principles that were important to them. He explained that the right of Mutual Responsibility is important because everyone has a responsibility to the people around them and should protect their rights and freedoms.
The tour concluded with a self-guided tour through exhibits such as the Ten Stages of Genocide, the Texas Upstander Wall, and the Memorial & Reflection Room. The final stop was the Cinemark Theater and a film featuring local Holocaust Survivor interviews created from rare footage and photographs.
“My grandparents met in Norway during the Holocaust,” stated Atoka Senior, Caleb Underwood. “This tour was enlightening, and I’m glad I got to come.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017, and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.