Writing and Art Contests

Each winter the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center sponsors two contests for students in grades 5 through 12. Click on the links below for complete details about the contests, including this year’s themes and deadlines. Contact dhrcdirector @ with any questions.  The theme for the 2024 Lydia May Memorial Holocaust Writing Contest and Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest is:

Righteous Gentiles

חֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם

Choose and research a Righteous Gentile. What inspired this person to risk his or her own life to save Jews and others who were marked for death by the Nazis?

One person can make a difference!

Righteous Gentiles, or more formally “Righteous among the Nations,” are defined by Yad Vashem: “The Righteous Among the Nations, honored by Yad Vashem, are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. Rescue took many forms and the Righteous came from different nations, religions and walks of life. What they had in common was that they protected their Jewish neighbors at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed. . . . Most rescuers were ordinary people. Some acted out of political, ideological or religious convictions; others were not idealists, but merely human beings who cared about the people around them. In many cases they never planned to become rescuers and were totally unprepared for the moment in which they had to make such a far-reaching decision. They were ordinary human beings, and it is precisely their humanity that touches us and should serve as a model.”

Of course, there are a few very famous Righteous Gentiles, but most are not well known.  Try to choose one of the latter – you may want to show us why that person should be better known.

Here is a brief list of resources to help students get started:

A local Righteous Gentile, Johanna Van Hagen

The local Bosma family:

General resources:

Students will find plenty of information on the web with a simple search.  However, most deal with only a few individuals.  The following are the best sources for large databases of people to consider.

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

Holocaust Museum in Washington

Jewish Virtual Library

 The librarians at the ERC at Wright State will be happy to help: contact

We know that the uncertainties of this school year may present obstacles to students, teachers and parents alike when it comes to creating art and writing for the contests.  We encourage entries from students being schooled at home as well as from the traditional classroom.

Entries must be submitted by Friday, March 22, 2024. But any time before that is fine!

Because of the large volume of entries we receive each year – both art and writing – please try to send us only your students’ best work.

Important: You may either e-mail entries or send them by regular mail. If mailing hard copy, you need to include a cover sheet with the student’s name and grade, teacher’s name, and school; the entry itself should not include any of this information, in order to ensure anonymity in judging.  Please send three copies.  Entries coming directly from students will not be accepted – they need to come through a teacher, except in the case of home-schooled students.

Send e-mail entries to:

Mail entries to:

Dayton Holocaust Resource Center

525 Versailles Dr, Dayton, OH 45459

Your entry may be fiction, nonfiction, prose, drama or poetry.

DIVISIONS: Division I is for grades 5, 6, 7, and 8. Division II is for grades 9-12. Students at any greater Dayton area school, public, parochial or private, as well as home-schooled, are eligible.

AWARDS: Monetary awards will be given for First, Second, Third Place and Honorable Mention.


Entries must represent the independent and unassisted work of the student under whose name they are submitted. Proofreading for corrections by a parent or teacher is acceptable, but content must not come from anyone but the author.

Entries will be judged for originality, content, and understanding of the subject.

Entries become the property of the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center, which reserves the right to publish them in part or in their entirety.

PLEASE NOTE that the deadline is Friday, March 22. Winners will be notified soon after that date, and will be announced at the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at Beth Jacob Synagogue in April

If you aren’t already on our e-mail list, please ask to be added; updates are sent out periodically.


Entries must be submitted by Friday, March 31, 2023.  Click on the links below for full information.

Lydia May Holocaust Writing Contest

Max May Memorial Holocaust Art Contest

In 2002 we published a booklet containing some of the best contest entries from the past decade. Contact us if you would like copies, or view the entire booklet here. (large PDF file)

In 2003 and 2004, a selection of Art Contest entries were exhibited at the Webster Street Market, the Dayton Art Institute, and Sinclair Community College. Click here for the complete exhibit catalogue – thanks to Jill Wysong of the DAI. (link to catalog.pdf)

Since 2004, selected Art Contest entries have been exhibited at the Dayton Art Institute.  Some of these are pictured on our Facebook page: