“We Remember: Holocaust Remembrance Exhibit”

2023 Community Involvement Award Recipient

Mukwonago High School

Mukwonago, Wisconsin


On April 28, 2022, Mukwonago High School’s History Club, Art Department, Choirs and Orchestra joined together to commemorate and remember the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. The immersive exhibit included profiles of 365 victims, live music written from the Jewish concentration camps, and a variety of student-created exhibits for audience members to view. Attendees were welcome to walk through the exhibit, located in the hallways and lobby of our building. Groups were welcomed into the exhibit every 15 minutes and are encouraged to explore the information in the lobby for as long as they like.


The object of this project was three-fold: to present an actionable way for students to deepen their understanding of World War 2, the Nazi regime, the Holocaust, and the stories behind the numbers of victims, to engage our community (and surrounding communities) and to educate them on the same subjects by using an immersive, multi-media experience that utilized live musical performance, video, student-created art, and public speaking to present this powerful and thought-provoking material in an earnest, passionate, and meaningful way, and finally to give our students the opportunity to combine their talents with students from other departments (choir, orchestra, art, and history) to serve a unified, positive goal. By doing so, this project not only created newfound ties and connections with the community outside of our high school, but forged meaningful bonds between students in our high school community as well. By investing in the ideas of genuine department collaboration, authentic community-building and teaching, and student growth and learning this Holocaust Remembrance Exhibit strove to honor and commemorate the lives lost in the Holocaust.

Target Audience

The target audience for the project was both the student body of Mukwonago High School and those who lived in our surrounding communities and county. These populations were chosen due, not only to convenience of being close to the actual exhibit, but also to reinforce the importance and impact positive-community building. Because these were the students and community-members that the students involved in the project interacted with regularly, it made their work (which was completely voluntary and without reward) relevant, more meaningful, and mor impactful because they were engaged in something that was entirely selfless.


While the actual work done on this project only encapsulated about 3 months, the actual planning of the project was about 3 years in the making. When Maura Frenn (MHS History Club advisor) first approached PJ Uhazie (MHS Choir Director) in the winter of 2020 (the year marking the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust), the intention was to produce this event in the spring of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project was delayed 2 years before it could finally occur in safer circumstances.

Overview of Planning and Execution

The team that organized the event were: MHS History Club Advisor Maura Frenn who dedicated an intense 3 months of organizing history club members in researching, gathering facts & data on the Holocaust, and compiling the information and stories that would be displayed on the 365 profiles of victims that made up the middle portion of the exhibit. Additionally, her guidance was used in gathering further information for the introduction and conclusion portions of the exhibit. MHS Choir Director PJ Uhazie helped produce the event by handling all of the logistical planning, publicity, and for teaching and providing the musical leadership for both of the choirs that presented songs written in (and in response to) the Holocaust along the immersive walk-through. MHS art teacher and graphic design teacher, along with her graphic design class, designed and created all of the informational posters and profile displays in which the history club’s research could be shown. Additionally, Heidi and her students created large displays of pictures and videos that were also displayed along the walk to further the multi-media nature of the event. MHS Orchestra directors Dale Wilmer and Alexa Zakutansky also were involved and assisted in preparing a small string chamber ensemble that performed music written from the concentration camps.

Tools and Resources

Each department utilized a plethora of tools and resources to complete this project. The MHS History Club used Twitter accounts from the National Holocaust Museum and other reputable sources, as well as a variety of other sources to create the information presented to attendees. The MHS art department researched similar exhibit layouts and used tools and resources in our art department to create and print the posters. The MHS choirs used 2 arrangements of the piece “Ani Ma’ Amin” to perform as people walked through the exhibit. The MHS orchestras used the only known collection of music that was composed and born in the concentration camps to find the piece that they performed at the end of the exhibit. Other resources included interviews with outside community members.

Marketing and Promotion

The only marketing strategies used for this project included district-wide email, social media posts (twitter, Facebook, etc.) newspaper advertisements, radio ads, and in-person announcements. The various marketing and promotion attracted people from over a 30-mile radius, from multiple surround counties, and students and staff from various elementary & middle schools in our district. Furthermore, this advertisement attracted many members of our District Office including our superintendent, head of curriculum, and other key administrators for our school district.


The expenditures for this project included the cost of the music purchased and the printing of the exhibit materials. Thanks to community sponsors, the actual departments involved did not incur any actual costs to produce this exhibit. Overall costs for this project probably totaled around 300.00 dollars.


Thankfully, the major challenges for this project involved logistics in planning the location and date for the event and not anything in relation to support or community pushback from this event. All logistical issues were figured out through compromise and collaboration with district facilities and staff. In addition to these issues, smaller challenges included learning how to speak Hebrew in an authentic and respectful way and ensuring that all facts and data were accurate, informed, respectful, and correct. Through collaboration with community resources, the language was taught to students authentically. By sticking to national institutions devoted to the honest preservation of the history of the Holocaust, the MHS history club hoped to authentic share the information surrounding the lives lost.

Success/Effectiveness Measurement

We truly believe that our advocacy initiative was effective. Not only did the event draw about 200-300 community members on a busy weeknight, but also involved over 150 students in its creation and approximately 200 other students as attendees of the event. In addition to these , indicators of success were some of the quotes shared with the project’s leadership afterwards. Here are some excerpts:

 “I wanted to share my gratitude for all your hard work in accomplishing the Holocaust exhibit, yesterday. I (accidentally) spent my entire blue prep reading all the posters that were so wonderfully put together and displayed. The thought process behind each piece of music was incredible and really touched my heart.”- MHS English Teacher

“It is a truly moving experience to walk through! It is elements like this that make me so proud to be the Principal at MHS!” – MHS Principal

“ I was able to attend the Holocaust Memorial yesterday. It really was an incredible experience. I wanted to thank each of you for your part in creating such a memorable experience for students, staff, and the community.” – District Student Services Administrator

“ Please thank all your history students for the fine job they did creating and hosting the Holocaust Memorial Day event at MHS. It’s a subject that I am all too familiar with and yet still found it hard to read all you presented. It evokes a very visceral reaction for me. The music was especially evocative and lovely, and helped convey a solemn and peaceful atmosphere about a very difficult subject. I thought your students were very kind, respectful, thoughtful ( and a bit striken) by the inhumanity to other human beings- mostly us- Jewish people. The Holocaust devastated our European family as it did so many other Jewish families.” – Community Member

Community Impact

In addition to educating our students through an actionable and meaningful experience and by giving our community a powerful way to refamilarize themselves with the Holocaust and its victims, we really believe that the most powerful impact our exhibit had was by creating new and positive bridges of collaboration between departments and allowing our students to use their unique abilities (music, art, hunger for knowledge, openness to learning) to best serve a unified goal. In addition to these meaningful opportunities, other impact can be summarized in this community member’s quote from an email:

“My take away: Your young people gave me alot of hope for our world.”

Advice for others?

I would encourage them to have regular meetings with all parties and be diligent in delegating tasks to each other so that not one party is overwhelmed. The beauty of this project was that this was done so well that nothing ever really was stressful, leaving room for this to be truly meaningful.