March 11, 2017
National History Day 2017 Theme: “Taking a Stand”
Junior Group Exhibit Division
“Standing Up To Hatred — Simone Arnold Liebster”
Fort Washington Elementary School, Fresno, CA
How We Chose Our Topic
When we heard the theme this year was Taking a Stand in History we immediately thought about Simone Arnold Liebster. We both had read Simone Arnold Liebster’s autobiography, Facing the Lion: Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe, and remembered all that she went through as a young girl because she took her stand against the Nazi government.
How We Conducted Our Research
When we first started our research, we went straight to her autobiography to get the details of the dates and events in Simone’s life that helped us to create the timeline. In this book we found some great primary documents including letters that she wrote to her parents when they were separated and in the concentration camps, as well as letters from a close family friend who was murdered in a concentration camp. We also found pictures of Simone and her family. Our best primary source was interviewing Simone Arnold Liebster through E-mail. She was able to answer questions we had that were not in her book. The Arnold Liebster Foundation website was so helpful because it led us to other websites such as the United States Holocaust Museum, for more primary sources. Online searches also helped us locate our secondary sources.
How We Selected Our Presentation Category and Created our Project
Since we are both still in elementary school, we thought the exhibit would be the best format to tell you about Simone Arnold Liebster and to show you our research. We chose the blue and white striped border because that was what the uniform in the concentration camps looked like. The purple triangles are what identified Jehovah?s Witnesses in the concentration camps. Since Simone was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and this was the reason for her persecution we thought it would be important to the exhibit. We chose to use metal in our Title because it reminded us of being in prison. This was what she and her family went through.
How Our Project Relates to the National History Day Theme
Simone Arnold Liebster stands out as a rare and exceptional young individual who took a stand not just for her own personal rights and conscience but also for all people. The Nazi movement was one of hatred to any they deemed as inferior. Simone would not conform to this, her conscience wouldn’t allow it. She chose to live by Bible principles even towards those who persecuted her. She took a stand peacefully. Even today she continues to take a stand using her experience as a way to educate others to choose to show love over hate.