FLOWERS blooming in Mountrath next year will be a poignant symbol of remembrance for 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.
Students at Mountrath Community School are taking part in the Crocus Project, an Irish initiative that aims to raise awareness in young people of the devastating impact of the Holocaust on children their own age.
Teacher Dr Mary Kelly and Mountrath CS students planted yellow crocus bulbs in the grounds of the school in October to remember those who died. When the flowers bloom in January, the students will again reflect on what they represent and recall the Jewish children and teenagers who tragically perished.
The yellow flowers recall the yellow Stars of David which Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule.
The delicate crocus was chosen because it blooms around the time of international Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. When it began in 2005, sponsored by Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI), the annual Crocus Project involved 6,000 Irish students. Since then, it has grown to the point where more than 100,000 young people from Ireland and ten European countries took part last year. The long-term aim is that 1.5 million crocuses will bloom across Europe, a flower for each child who died.
As part of the project, HETI provides yellow crocus bulbs for young people and school pupils aged 11 years and older to plant in gardens and school grounds. The flowers are symbols of remembrance, not only for those who died but also thousands of other children who were victims of Nazi atrocities.
The project is seen as a tangible way to introduce young people to the Holocaust and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and discrimination. The children’s involvement in learning about the Holocaust, planting the bulbs and watching the flowers grow encourages learning about tolerance and respect.
HETI also provides an information and guidelines pack to assist teachers and students.