Chris and I rented this movie over the weekend. Not really knowing what to expect – the description on the back sounded interesting, at least to me. Chris, on the other hand, is always giving me a hard time about the movies I pick out. This night was no different – – he picked his usual comedy, I picked a movie about the Holocaust. It usually goes that way and he blames it on the fact that he thinks I have no sense of humor. (I really do – in spite of the rumors).
We decided to make it the first movie to watch that night. We ended up making it the second movie we watched that night, as well. The first time we watched it by ourselves – – the second time, we brought it upstairs and made the kids sit through it.
As far as movies go? It was poorly done. Poorly shot. Bad music soundtrack. Very cheaply done.
However, you get past that the minute the kids start telling the story of how this small town of Whitewell, TN decided their school children needed a lesson in diversity and culture. They got that and so much more.
When I talk to my own kids about the Holocaust, it alarms me a great deal about how much they don’t know about it – – or the things they think they know about it. This movie is a great history lesson for anyone, young and old – – yet, I think it was very important for my kids to sit down and really watch, listen and learn.
They had no idea.
Whitwell, TN is a small, rural community of less than two thousand people nestled in the mountains of Tennessee. Its citizens are almost exclusively white and Christian. In 1998, the children of Whitwell Middle School took on an inspiring project, launched out of their principal’s desire to help her students open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley. What happened would change the students, their teachers, their families and the entire town foreverâ€¦ and eventually open hearts and minds around the world.
PAPER CLIPS is the moving and inspiring documentary film that captures how these students responded to lessons about the Holocaust-with a promise to honor every lost soul by collecting one paper clip for each individual exterminated by the Nazis. Despite the fact that they had previously been unaware of and unfamiliar with the Holocaust, their dedication was absolute. Their plan was simple but profound. The amazing result, a memorial railcar filled with 11 million paper clips (representing 6 million Jews and 5 million gypsies, homosexuals and other victims of the Holocaust) which stands permanently in their schoolyard, is an unforgettable lesson of how a committed group of children and educators can change the world one classroom at a time.