Humanizing the Holocaust: A Photo Comparison Project


Projects displayed on Mrs. Lutz’s back wall

As a project for Mrs. Lutz’s Literature of the Holocaust class, each student created a picture comparison; it displays one picture of life before the Holocaust and one recent picture from the student’s life. If you have recently visited Mrs. Lutz’s classroom, you probably noticed these pictures hanging on the back wall. At first glance, these may just look like normal pictures, but their meanings are much greater than that.

This impactful and meaningful project started about a week and a half ago after wrapping up a unit about how Hitler first came to power and what life was like before the Holocaust. Each student was instructed to search through the thousands and thousands of photographs archived on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website. After searching high and low for pictures that spoke to their hearts, students then began to analyze them. Once they selected their favorite, they were given the most interesting part of the project: to go home and parallel these pictures to their own.

As students looked through their own photo albums to find comparison pictures, the similarities between life back then and life today became increasingly striking. Libbe Christophel, a senior in Lutz’s period 7 class stated, it was “horrifying to think about it because it could’ve easily been any of us.” Many students had this same sentiment and were shocked at the emotional impact this project had on them. Being able to empathize with people photographed almost 80 years ago had an everlasting impact on the students.

This project truly individualized the people in each photo and made students think about the fate and history behind each person. All of the people memorialized on Mrs. Lutz’s back wall have had their story heard; they are no longer just another number. If you get a chance take a peek into Mrs. Lutz’s classroom to see the breathtaking posters for yourself.