Panama GEAR UP sophomores visit the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa


WILBURTON, OK (May. 11, 2016) – Thirty-seven Panama GEAR UP sophomores recently visited the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa. Students were divided into two groups which were led by docents Suzie Bogle and Stan Shapiro (both volunteers at the Museum).

The Herman and Kate Kaiser Holocaust exhibit commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated six million Jewish people, two million Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and to teaching the moral and ethical response to prejudice, hatred and indifference for the benefit of all humanity.

As students toured the Museum, they viewed pictures, maps and artifacts from the time of the Holocaust—September 14, 1930–November 22, 1945. Students heard stories about different victims and heroes who lived during the era. The Kaiser Holocaust Exhibition encourages visitors to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah by the six candles resembling the smokestacks of the crematorium on the sculpture they viewed as they entered the exhibition.

The origin of the work “Holocaust” is Greek meaning sacrifice totally consumed by fire. The docent explained to the students that discrimination is still present today, and it is the responsibility of each one of them to stand up for what is right. The students were also taught about segregation, racism, the world’s reaction to Hitler, the Ghettos, the Camps, rescues, Jewish religion and so much more.

“This really opened my eyes to what the Nazi people really did to so many people,” said Micah Archey.

Shapiro discussed the Torah and how it is read from right to left. The Torah is written in Hebrew and one passage is read each Sabbath. That is the same reading all over the world for that date. Students were amazed that the Torah was handwritten.

Panama sophomore Bradlee Tackett said, “I would like to be able to read in Greek so I could read from the Torah. I think it would be cool to learn to read the writing.”
Most of the items in the Sherwin Miller Museum were donated and behind covered glass cabinets to keep the items preserved. Students also learned that the Jews believe there are 613 commandments to live by, not just ten.

“It was very emotional,” said Brooklyn Collins, “even though I already knew so much about the Holocaust.”

The GEAR UP students also experienced a special exhibit from Washington, D.C., while touring the Museum called “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” The exhibit teaches visitors the meaning of propaganda, how it was used by the Nazi army to gain power, and is still used today. Propaganda is biased information spread to shape the public opinion and behavior. The students were able to see the different uses of propaganda techniques to control the society that helped Hitler gain control.

“I’m glad our students had the opportunity to gain the education and a better understanding of the holocaust,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self. “It was very emotional, but I feel like we walked away with a better understanding of propaganda, the Nazi army and the Jewish culture. I loved the tour.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature.

Panama GEAR UP sophomores at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. Front Row: MaKenzie Colwell, Maddison Colwell, Courtney Phillips, Victoria Ryan, Kaylia Coleman, Telissa Call, Alyssa Hopkins and Alisia Palma. Row 2: Acelyn McCroskey, Chasity Huffman, Sarah Gentry, Sierra Chavez, Mercady Nixon, Alyssa Powell, Sydnee Haynes, Salym Kasper, Scimber Hale, Brooklyn Collins, Tatum Tackett, Bayleigh Wilson, Alexis Enkoff, Lucas Painter and Bryce Currens. Back Row: Bradlee Tackett, Jace Hardy, Blake Dotson, Fernando Nunez, Anthony McVey, Tobin Wright, Sydney Fout, Zachary Brown, Jacob Mantooth, Skylar Herrington, Jacob Enkoff and Micah Archey.

Sherwin Miller Museum docents Stan Shapiro and Suzie Bogle introduced the students to the Museum.

Museum docent Bogle explained to the Panama sophomore class how the Torah sets in the Synagogue and how the service takes place on the Sabbath. Front Row: Tyren Keener, Taryn Thornhill, Brooklyn Collins, Sydnee Haynes, Alisia Palma, Tatum Tackett, Sydney Fout, Bryce Currens, Lucas Painter and Bradlee Tackett. Back Row: Kaylia Coleman, Telissa Call, Bayleigh Wilson, Alexis Enkoff, Fernando Nunez and Skylar Herrington.

Museum docent Bogle explains the Yikor with its six smokestacks of the crematorium to Panama students Sydnee Haynes, Micah Archey, Taryn Thornhill, Acelyn McCroskey and Skylar Herrington.

Museum docent Bogle explained the St. Louis voyage, how KKK was involved, discrimination, propaganda the Nazi party used to describe the Jewish population and why all of the Jewish people wanted to leave their homes.

Museum docent Bogle discusses the different kinds of propaganda used by the Nazi party and how the Nazis wanted the world to think the Jewish people were the problem. Pictured are Tyren Keener, Sydney Fout, Skylar Herrington, Fernando Nunez, Bryce Currens and Brooklyn Collins.

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