Student Holocaust Film a Must-See: Schools Urged to Use 20-Year-Old's Work as Teaching Tool

Article excerpt

As a Florida high school senior, Michael Marcus took a tour of Poland and Israel and came to grips with the Holocaust. He wrote a poem to deal with its awesome cruelty and put the words to images on a video for other students.

This being Holocaust Remembrance Week, Mr. Marcus, 20, and his film will be honored on Capitol Hill today by Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican, and other lawmakers who hope the video can help educate the nation's high school students.

It's being used in all Florida high schools. The secretary of state there calls it a "valuable learning tool."

"I never anticipated that this would happen," Mr. Marcus said of his nine-minute film, "The Holocaust: A Deception of Truth." "I made it because I needed to."

A self-edited project he completed while at Palm Beach High School for the Arts, it first caught the attention of the county film commission. "It was so well done, and here was a young Jewish man telling this story," Chief Commissioner Chuck Elderd said. "It's always been the older people."

The video is one more element in what many educators call the growth of Holocaust studies in high schools, a topic almost absent even 15 years ago.

"I made the film, yes, because it is a Jewish issue," said Mr. Marcus, who thinks teen-agers generally are unaware of the Holocaust. "But it pertains to all mankind. If we ignore what took place, then hatred or prejudice will come again, and there goes another group."

A survey done in 1991, as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was opening, found that 73 percent of Americans felt study of the Holocaust was "essential" or "very important" to put into public education.

That process, however, can only be moved along by state or local initiatives. …