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From My Heart To Yours
By: Hugh Ward
Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who hid the
family of Anne Frank from the Nazis and
discovered the teenage girl’s now-famous
diary, died in January at 100. Her passing
inspired me to write this – from my heart
to yours.
Hugh Ward
Cheryl Friedlander dropped by some time ago Dagmar Schroeder became the project’s advo-
and plopped something down on my desk saying, cates, the paper clips came in a flood. The school
“Hugh, this might be of interest to you.” It was a began to resemble a warehouse with every shelf
DVD and, without thinking, I stuck the movie on and corner filled with boxes of paper clips. One
a shelf between two books on the New Testament evening, in a moment of inspiration, the team
and promptly forgot about it. that led the project declared that what they
I thought nothing of it until one day when needed was a cattle car like the ones used to
Cheryl called and wanted her movie about paper transport the Jews to the concentration camps.
clips and asked for my review of the film. Embar- Giant paper clips dangle from the ceiling
rassing moment! I didn’t even remember where I inside the school, and the hallways are adorned
had stored the disc. I leapt up, ran around the with cutouts of butterflies. Outside is a section of
desk, and walked right to the place where the track and welded to it is the small transport car.
movie waited. On one side of it a sign reads, “Holocaust-Mahn-
Paper Clips. It was a movie about paper clips mal der Kinder.” On the other side this German
from a rural Tennessee village named Whitwell. inscription is translated: Children’s Holocaust
Whitwell is a town of 16 hundred with a popula- Memorial.
tion that is mostly Protestant whites and is a most No one could have ever imagined the change
unlikely place for what exists there today. There that has taken place in Whitwell. After reading
is a boxcar that serves as a memorial to commem- the history of the Holocaust, after hearing the
orate the Holocaust. The World War II German flesh and blood stories of the camps’ survivors,
railcar sits in front of Whitwell Middle School, the students themselves wrote these words:
and it houses millions of paper clips. Each clip We did what we had to do. We try to honor
honors a victim of Nazi hatred and murder. the dead and tell the world that there is no
The Paper Clips Project began in a class aimed substitute for tolerance. Are you listening?
at teaching tolerance. To understand the Please come to Whitwell and see for yourself.
enormity of the Nazis’ extermination of 6-million Do you see how powerful hearing stories can
Jews, the students began collecting paper clips, be? Every generation has stories that can inspire.
invented by a Norwegian, and worn by the We must tell our inspired stories to our children
Norwegians to show solidarity with their Jewish and to each other. Great stories can shape the
neighbors during World War II. faith consciousness of us all. For we become the
The paper clips came slowly at first, but after stories we love to tell.
Washington-based German journalists Peter and
Winter 2010 Moultrie Magazine 25
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