‘A Light in the Dark’: Wauwatosa Catholic students turn classroom into Holocaust museum


WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) — Catholic school students in Wauwatosa, spending nearly a year learning all about the Holocaust, had a big reveal Tuesday night. They turned a room in their school into quite the museum. 

James Escott, an 8th grader at Wauwatosa Catholic, gave us a personal tour. 

“Here you’ll find a booklet with a definition of each person, a quick background of their life,” said Escott. 

Students hit on all senses with this darkened room, with sounds — a baby crying — and with photos of those who lost their lives. 

“This was a lot of work. Usually we stayed after school ’til about 4:30,” said 8th grader Oliver Beutler.

Wauwatosa Catholic asked its 8th grade class to choose a subject to follow closely. A lot of research, class discussions and artwork goes into it.

“Up on this wall are pieces of propaganda engaged by Hitler to convince the German population of his master plan,” said Escott.

The room has barbed wire. The ceiling, in blue and white stripes, represents uniforms worn in concentration camps. 

Students here got very creative, using what they could to make things look authentic. They used plates from the Dollar Tree, and made Styrofoam look just like wood. Broken stained glass windows symbolize something that happened back then. 

“And the sides representing broken glass again referring to Kristallnacht, which sparked the Holocaust,” said Escott.

Families started the night with a prayer service, then everyone got to see what students spent hours on.

“Well I did a lot of painting and spray painting,” said 8th grader Henri Ndour.

“I painted the bricks over there,” said 8th grader Erin Gonzales. When asked why their teachers want them to learn about the Holocaust, she said, “Because it can never happen again and the best way to like keep it from happening is to learn about it.”

“But it was also shown that when people could unite together what they could do, just as our students united together to do that,” said Dr. Kagey Burdick, Wauwatosa Catholic principal.

Students called their project “A Light in the Dark.”

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