In the tiny town of Whitwell, Tennessee, stands one of the world’s most modest yet profound remembrances of World War II genocide, the Children’s Holocaust Memorial. In 1998, a group of Whitwell Middle School students launched a campaign to collect 6 million paper clips, one for each Jewish person killed under Hitler’s tyranny. Why paper clips? They were worn by Norwegians as a silent protest against Nazi aggression.
The students exceeded beyond their wildest dreams, ultimately receiving more than 30 million paper clips from dignitaries, celebrities, prison camp survivors and others from all over the world. An award-winning documentary, Paper Clips, retells the story of their quest.
A German railroad car that was used to transport Jewish detainees to the Nazi death camps has been donated to the school and now stands as the centerpiece of the memorial and a symbol of human triumph. The museum is open during school hours or by special arrangement by calling 423-658-5635.