The Ida S. Kramer Essay Contest

Ida(2)  In honor and loving memory of Ida S. Kramer (1926-2015) who has been the voice of Holocaust education for Quad City schools, civic groups, and the community at large for over 30 years, the Quad Cities Yom HaShoah Committee sponsors the annual The Ida S. Kramer “Children and the Holocaust” Essay Contest for Quad City area (Illinois and Iowa) students in grades 6-12. Thousands of school children and educators have heard Ida speak about the rise of Nazi Germany, the discrimination and concentration of Jews in ghettos and camps, their eventual murder by an efficient killing machine and the willingness of citizenry to stand by and let it happen. Because there are important lessons to be learned, may we never forget.

Theme: Children and the Holocaust
The title of the essay may be original and may be on the first page of the essay or on a separate cover sheet. Essay must be submitted electronically to:

March 1 (annually)
Entry form: 2022-yom-hashoah-essay-contest-entry-form-1

2022 Essay Winners:

1st Place: Levi Tannenbaum (10th grade) and Yosef Tannenbaum (9th grade), Homeschooled – “Mendel’s Journey” (Mendel Hershkowitz Kluger)

2nd Place: Alex M. Williams (8th grade), Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf, IA – “A Night We Should Never Forget” (Elie Wiesel)

3rd Place (Tie): Zoe D. Fuglsang (8th grade), St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt, IA – “A Time to Never Forget” (Aaron Elster). Paige Swain (10th grade), Geneseo High School, Geneseo, IL – “Her Truimph” (Irene Butter)

2021 Essay Winners:

1st Place: Lila Teitle, 11th grade, Pleasant Valley High School
“Never Forget: A Story of Hope and Forgiveness”

2nd Place: Mary Roldstad, 10th grade, Assumption High School “Mengele’s Twins”


3rd Place: Anna Prosise, 7th grade, Central DeWitt Middle School “The Undercover German Beauty”


Honorable Mentions: Christina Reyna, 8th grade, St. Joseph’s Catholic School “A Time in History Never to Forget”

Ryan McGarry, 8th grade, St. Joseph’s Catholic School “Survivors: The Children of the Holocaust Story”

2020 Essay Winners:

1st PlaceTaylor Puglisi  “Dancing to Survive, Forgiving to Live: The Story of Dr. Edith Eva Eger” – 12th Grade, Moline High School, Moline, Illinois   Puglisi Essay
2nd PlaceBrooke Bloom  “Death, Fear, and Sadness” – 8th Grade, St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt, Iowa
Sponsoring Teacher:  Demi Franck  Bloom Essay1
3rd PlaceGarrison Chrones “Remembering the Holocaust” – 8th Grade, St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt, Iowa
Sponsoring Teacher:  Demi Franck  Chrones Essay
Honorable Mention
Isabelle Pierce
“When Weiss’ Life Changed” – 8th Grade, St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt, Iowa;  Mary Rolfstad  “Schindlerjuden: The Life and Story of Leon Leyson” – 9th Grade, Assumption High School, Davenport, Iowa;  Claire Unke “Renia Spigel: The Holocaust” – 8th Grade, Clinton Middle School, Clinton, Iowa.

2019 Essay Winners:
1st Place: Kayla Santiago,  Florida Virtual School (10th Grade);  “Prospecting through Anguish” (The Story of Eva Schloss);  Teacher: Shavon Ramos Prospecting Essay
2nd Place: Taylor Puglisi,  Moline High School, Moline, IL (11th Grade); “Finding Strength in Literature: The Harrowing Story of Dita Kraus”  Finding Strength Essay
3rd Place:  Mary K. Rolfstad, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport, IA (8th Grade); “Hidden Children” (The Story of Edith Schwalb)  Hidden Children Essay

Other Essays Submitted:
Maya Baker, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, IA (12th Grade); “Meeting Marguerite” (The Story of Marguerite Mishkin)  Bettendorf HS English Teacher: Connie King

Laman Hanifayeva, Mercer County High School, Aledo, IL (12th Grade); “Doris Warschawski: Germany to Shanghai, Then to the Land of Freedom”

2018 Essay Winners:
1st Place: Oliver I. Klipsch, Creative Arts Academy (7th grade); “A Flame of Hope-The Legacy of Dr. Ralph Troll”  2018 Oliver Klipsch essay
2nd Place: Taylor A. Puglisi, Moline High School (10th grade); “Elie Wiesel: Surviving the Night and Leaving a Legacy”
3rd Place: Korina L. Smith, Creative Arts Academy (7th grade); “Child of the Holocaust-The Story of Dr. Ralph Troll”
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth C. Karns, Sherrard High School (10th grade), “Inside Look on Cary Krell’s Life”

2017 Essay Winners:
1st Place: Grace Hipple, Davenport Central High School (12th grade), “Fighting for Freedom: Simone Segouin’s Brave Resistance to Nazi Persecution” 2017 Grace Hipple Essay
2nd Place: Noor Ain, Davenport Central High School (10th grade),” Marion-The Lady Who Inspired Me”  – Article from IRIS “Exchange Student Inspired by Holocaust Survivor”
3rd Place: Amen Gabre, Scattergood Friend’s School (12th grade),” Living Memory: The Holocaust’s History and Ethiopia’s Future” (Marion Blumenthal)

2016 Essay Winners:
1st Place: Sam Rothbardt, Pleasant Valley Junior High (8th grade), “Greatest Respect for Humankind” (the story of Yanek Gruener) 2016 Sam Rothbardt Essay
2nd Place: Jessica Cahoon, Clinton Middle School (8th grade), “The Life of Hana Brady”
3rd Place: Iryna Komarova, Rock Island High School (11th grade), “Irving Roth’s Struggle for Existence”

2015 Essay Winners:
1st Place: Allison Stutting, “Forgiveness is the the Seed of Peace: Eva Kor’s Journey in Abolishing Hate”  2015 Allison Stutting Essay
2nd Place: Kwamena Addo Nhyria Hammond
3rd Place: Stephanie Black

2014 Essay Winner: Alex Bare, North Scott High School (11th grade), “I Wasn’t Even Eighteen:” Pierre Seel’s Holocaust as a “175er” 2014 Alex Bare Essay

2013 Essay Winner: Rachel Cupp, Edison Junior High School (8th grade), “Children and the Holocaust”  2013 Rachel Cupp Essay

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