Trunks of Hope

Zoe Wright, Public Relations Intern

Educating our children is one of the first steps we can take to create a world without hate and prejudice. Holocaust education is essential to ensure the memory of the Holocaust stays alive. Students across the nation have been touched by our Teaching Trunks. These large Teaching Trunks, available free of charge, are designed to assist teachers in their teaching of the Holocaust. Last year alone, our trunks traveled to twenty-one states, reaching approximately 50,000 students!

In 1994, the Florida Legislature passed the Holocaust Education Bill, requiring all school districts in Florida to incorporate lessons on the Holocaust as part of public school instruction. As contracted through the Florida Department of Education, the Teaching Trunks meet the mandate of the state. This bill was intended to play a significant role in the development of accepting attitudes, cooperative and collaborative behaviors, and informed and compassionate citizens.

Holocaust education is so important. Whether it be teaching 1st and 2nd graders about respect and understanding or discussing the historical impact of the Holocaust on individuals with high schoolers, Teaching Trunks have been an essential part of curriculum in many classrooms. The materials in the literature-based trunks are carefully selected to be grade and age appropriate. The trunks include literature circles, videos, read-aloud sections, CD-ROMs, picture books, and student/teacher reference and resource materials. The curriculum focuses on the integration of subject areas, cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, and emphasizes reading and writing skills. With these trunks, students are taught to understand the roots and ramifications of racism and prejudice. They are taught to stand up for injustice.

The trunks are broken up by grade level. The 1st and 2nd grade trunks focus on being different and the same. The trunk features a video series with related literature on awareness, fairness, understanding, respect and tolerance.

The 3rd and 4th grade trunks focus on creating community. With this trunk, students start to examine the issues at the root of all Holocaust education. Students discuss families, cultural identity, prejudice, immigration and community.

The 5th grade trunk begins Holocaust studies. This trunk begins to expose students to the socio-political and historical context in which the Holocaust took place.

The Middle School trunk investigates human behavior, focusing on the choices made by individuals and groups during the Holocaust. It prompts a discussion on how choices affect the lives of other people.

The High School trunk focuses on the historical perspectives of the Holocaust. The material covers the examination of the historical impact of the Holocaust on individuals. The Teaching Trunks build upon the previous curriculum each year to deepen student’s understanding and discussion of the Holocaust.

We are now offering two new trunks! The Arts Trunk, designed for elementary students, integrates powerful messages through images, music and performance. The lessons are designed for art and can be used in other classes. The Human Rights and Genocide Trunk is designed for Middle and High School students. The trunk takes the theme of Holocaust remembrance and “never again,” and provides the opportunity to explore human behavior from the standpoint of a victim, bystander, perpetrator, rescuer and upstander. In addition to Holocaust history, this trunk provides resources on the Armenian genocide, Cambodia, Rwanda, and The Balkans, in addition to issues in South Africa and the Japanese American Internment.

Philosopher George Santayana said, “He who does not learn from History is doomed to repeat it.” Today, Holocaust Survivors stress the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance. It is so important that we never forget what happened. Sara Atzmon, a Holocaust Survivor said, “I tell my story so that they might tell the next generation.” As students learn about the historical, social, religious, and political factors that resulted in the Holocaust, they begin to understand the complexity of the subject and form a new perspective on how many factors can destroy human values. Through the Teaching Trunks, students will come to understand the responsibility of bystanders to stand up for what is right.

Teachers have seen the impact the trunks have made in their student’s studies. One teacher from Citrus County said, “I would share this teaching material with my colleagues and absolutely recommend the Teaching Trunks…it has enhanced the unit of study.” Another teacher said, “The Teaching Trunk material was practical, complete and easy to use.” Mary Blow, a middle school teacher in upstate New York, said the Teaching Trunks are a “gold mine of resources for teachers and students.”

We cannot provide the Teaching Trunks to schools for free without your help. The Florida Holocaust Museum has launched its 4th Annual “Trunks of Hope” Campaign to be able to continue to provide the Teaching Trunks free of charge. Please consider donating towards the “Trunks of Hope” Campaign. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, every dollar donated on July 12th through August 2nd will be matched up to $7,500. If you donate today, you will be eligible to win free box seat tickets (dinner and beverage included) to a Tampa Bay Rays game!

Since the campaign began on July 12th, The Florida Holocaust Museum has raised about $7,000 for the “Trunks of Hope” Campaign! The Florida Holocaust Museum greatly appreciates the support we have already received and hope we can continue to raise money for this impactful academic program. Thank you for helping us keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and educate students across the nation.

To donate, please visit

To learn more about the Teaching Trunks, please visit

If you would like to request a Teaching Trunk, please visit

We appreciate your consideration and support!