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Trunk of Tolerance Project



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Administrator Permission Form | Request to Borrow a Trunk Form | FAQs
Logistics | Student Project Ideas|Evaluation Form| Letter to Parents

Middle School

(Follow this link for a printable version of this information.)

What is the Trunk of Tolerance project?
The Trunk of Tolerance program offers interested teachers the opportunity to borrow free materials on teaching the Holocaust from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford and Bristol Community College Holocaust & Genocide Center. The purpose is to teach tolerance and promote respect while helping teachers to supplement their existing curriculum, meet Common Core standards, and fulfill the recent MA Dept. of Education directive on Holocaust education. The scope of this project is limited to stories of survival, rescuers, and resistance.

What’s inside each trunk?

  1. 6 copies each of the following nonfiction books, all from the perspective of children:
    1. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen & the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose
    2. Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, & a Heroic Escape During WW II
      by Ram Oren, Barbara Harshav (Translator)
    3. Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz’s Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France by Stacy Cretzmeyer
    4. Eva’s Story: A Survivor’s Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank
      by Eva Schloss, Evelyn Julia Kent
    5. Hana’s Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery by Karen Levine
  2. 1 copy of Branded on My Arm and In My Soul, a memoir by New Bedford tailor and Holocaust survivor Abe Landau
  3. Passport copies of real people during the Holocaust, donated by the US Holocaust Museum
  4. Posters of Anne Frank quote; Nazi identity badges; Warsaw ghetto photo
  5. 6 zip drives with links to testimonies on the US Holocaust Museum website
  6. Art supplies for students to decorate the trunk to reflect what they have learned about the Holocaust

* The interfaith Holocaust Memorial and Education Committee (under the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford umbrella) selected these nonfiction books and materials. This sub-committee was comprised of current teachers.

How can the trunk materials be used in a classroom?

  • Students can work in small groups to read the nonfiction books, discuss their point of view, and compare and contrast the stories.
  • In small groups, students can discuss the posters, analyzing their content, historical context and relate Anne Frank’s message to today.
  • Students can read the passports and discuss what they can infer about the lives of these people before, during, and after the war.
  • Students can listen to testimonies from real people and discuss how propaganda played a role in changing the hearts and actions of law-abiding citizens, neighbors, and friends.
  • Students who have completed their regular assignments can use the materials inside the trunk to expand their knowledge and understanding of this period of history.

What is the cost of borrowing a trunk?
There is NO COST to borrow the trunk. We appreciate your participation and know you will assume responsibility and take reasonable care of the trunk and its contents.

Who is eligible to borrow a trunk?
Public, private, parochial, or charter Middle schools in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fall River, Fairhaven, Somerset and Mattapoisett may borrow a trunk. Teachers must have the permission of their administrators to participate.

How does a teacher apply to borrow a trunk?
Click on the REQUEST TO BORROW A TRUNK FORM, which can be completed and submitted online.
* The teacher will look for available dates on the live Google Calendar and select ones that fit his/her schedule. Within several days the teacher will receive a confirmation email.

Where does a teacher pick up a trunk?
At the Jewish Federation office, which is inside Tifereth Israel Congregation Synagogue, 145 Brownell Ave., New Bedford. Please call the Federation office at (508) 997-7471 to coordinate the pick-up time. *Note that if you choose the larger size trunk you will need help to lift it. If you call a week before your pickup date, you may be able to schedule one of the TI custodians to help you.

Please note that trunks are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis. (Be sure to check the size of your car trunk to make sure it fits.)

How long may a teacher keep the trunk in his/her classroom?
Up to 1 month.

What should a teacher do when he/she is done with the trunk?
Please complete the Evaluation Form online at the Federation’s website: and return the trunk to the Jewish Federation office. Again, please call (508) 997-7471 to coordinate drop-off. When you return the trunk, please share with us any completed student projects, which will be saved for an exhibit of student work in the spring.

What are some suggestions for student projects?
Our committee would like to include student projects at our annual exhibit in the spring marking Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust. These projects would reflect the student’s understanding of the Holocaust as a lesson for today’s world.

Some suggestions include:

  • Writing letters to an author of one of these books
  • Creating a video of a selection of meaningful text
  • Creating propaganda posters
  • Creating a podcast to pass on to other students
  • Using digital picture frames to display projects
  • Creating drawings, paintings, sculptures
  • Writing poems, essays, plays with a focus on the role of bystanders

Does the Trunk of Tolerance project require teachers to complete an evaluation form?
Feedback is key to improving our project. The short evaluation form online will help us refine our efforts to enhance the teacher’s Holocaust lessons.

How does a teacher complete an evaluation form?
Click on the EVALUATION FORM link, which can be completed and submitted online.

How did this Trunk of Tolerance project start?
With the overwhelming violence in the news, our interfaith committee wanted to take concrete action to discourage hatred and bigotry in our community. In partnership with Bristol Community College Holocaust and Genocide Center, these trunks were made available to local schools.

We learned that Trunk Projects have been in existence for years in many states across the U.S., including Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Washington State. Holocaust museums and state commissions on Holocaust education often sponsor them. Private, public, nonprofit and corporate sectors often donate money to support these projects. We followed many of their guidelines, which included letters requesting permission of administrators, parents, and teachers.

Who does a teacher contact with specific questions, comments or to request a speaker to come to his classroom? All are members of the Advisory Board of the BCC Holocaust & Genocide Center:

  • Ron Weisberger – Director of Holocaust Center at BCC
  • Gary Brown – former Superintendent at Old Colony Vocational Technical High School
  • Nathan Orie – teacher at Old Rochester Regional Middle School; answer questions re. content & teaching suggestions
  • Manya Bark – educator on Jewish history & Romas; available as speaker
  • Cindy Yoken – Holocaust educator; available as speaker (Abe Landau memoir)
  • Marsha Onufrak – Holocaust educator; available as speaker (Abe Landau memoir); available to demonstrate IWitness testimonies

How can I support the Trunk of Tolerance project?
The materials in each trunk cost approximately $400. Your donations help us to create more trunks and serve more students. On the Jewish Federation website, click on Donate to Trunk of Tolerance Project link. Thanks for your support for this worthwhile project!

Please visit the BCC Library Learning Commons, which houses a collection of books on the Holocaust in a designated section.

For more resources, including other genocides, please visit the BCC Library Learning Commons website: for more information. Click on the Poison Path Project.


Amir Cohen
Executive Director

Michelle Poirier
Associate Director

(508) 997-7471


467 Hawthorn St.
North Dartmouth, MA