The 6th grade students in Mrs. Martinez's Language Arts class have been learning about how people practice understanding, tolerance, & respect during times of difficulty - they've read several WWII/Holocaust books & watched numerous documentary clips about these topics. One student in particular, Greta Kantzler, was so inspired by the "Paper Clips" documentary that she viewed in class, that she convinced her mom & grandpa (who they were going to be visiting in Kentucky) to travel to Whitwell, Tennessee, over Thanksgiving break to visit the Children's Holocaust Memorial that was created there by middle school students.
The memorial that Greta visited is an authentic German rail car that the Third Reich used to transport victims to concentration, labor, & death camps during WWII. The students in Whitwell decided to fill the rail car with paper clips - which was a symbol that Norwegians had worn as a symbol of resistance during WWII to protest what the Nazis were doing. Each paper clip that's in the rail car represents a final resting place for someone who was persecuted because of what they believed. Greta placed a paper clip - representing her 6th grade Language Arts class - into the rail car along with the other 30 million paper clips which have been sent in & brought from people all over the world.