The Skopp Prize is given in recognition of excellence in scholarly and artistic creations dealing with ideas and issues surrounding the Holocaust. Students are invited to submit original essays, historical analyses, stories, poems, musical and dance compositions, video productions, theater works and visual arts creations exploring and expressing their own personal relationship to or reflections on the Holocaust. The award ceremony typically is scheduled in conjunction with SUNY Plattsburgh’s annual Holocaust commemoration, Days of Remembrance, held in the Douglas and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust Memorial Gallery in Feinberg Library. Award winners perform or present their original creations during the observance.

Recent Submissions

  • "A History Hidden and Hijacked: Overcoming Barriers to Holocaust Education in the Muslim World"

    Chowdhury, Adeeb (2024-04-15)
    In this essay, I explore the prevalence of Holocaust denial, distortion, and ignorance in Muslim-majority countries. Drawing from my own experiences growing up in Bangladesh and being an exchange student in the United States, I analyze various social, political, and religious impediments to Holocaust education in Islamic cultures. I have witnessed first-hand the nature of antisemitism that pervades cultures across the world, and my journey to confront my own previous ignorance has allowed me to grasp the importance of combating such bigoty and the weaponization of history.
  • The Human Heart

    Maher, Kailey (2019-04-30)
    Albert Einstein once wrote, “The world is too dangerous to live in – not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.” We are all merely human, but where the fight lies is trying to stay human. One of the things that binds us, above all else, is our humanity. As such, no human life is more important than another. As human beings alike, we have a personal responsibility to one another to protect and preserve the life and rights of those who have lost their voice or no longer have a voice. We – as individuals, as students, and at our very essence, as human beings – have the power to promote change because, unlike so many unfortunate others, our voices can still be heard.
  • Tainted Lives

    Kiroy, Nicholas (2018)
    The work describes in a 20-line standard stanza the lives of six individuals who were affected in some way by the holocaust. I tried not to just define each character by their status and circumstances, but also by a dominant emotion that would carry with them. The first character, Alfons, I share the closest connection with personally because he and I both are nineteen. I attempted to imagine how my life would be affected if I were forced to endure this event at a time of discovering I face now. Along with devaluation, expectations, and hopelessness as elements, what path was he set on by this exterior force on his life? The other characters are much similar in having faced normal human difficulties in their pre-holocaust lives, endured unimaginable hardship during the events that took place, and were forever disadvantaged and scarred by this portion of their lives in which they involuntarily relinquished control to a great evil. Each of the characters are distinct in their own unique experiences shaped by where they went, who they were before they became involved, and how they cope with these hardships. Each of the characters are also the same inasmuch as they are unsuspecting victims in a merciless campaign to de-humanize that which is different, an increasingly relevant concept as the post-modern age progresses in a globalized world of self-awareness shared in a space with that of many others different from ourselves.
  • Mannequin Renewal

    Suphan, Jessica (2018)
    In a small, sheltered home of modern day United States, an older man named Josef paints those slaughtered in the Holocaust on mannequins. But his solitary passion is interrupted by a high schooler named Lydia; she bursts into his home in a flurry of excitement and hope. Her aunt sent her to Josef, with the teenager hoping he’ll help her create a birthday present for her elderly grandmother. Her sweetheart, Lydia’s grandfather, was lost in a concentration camp. Josef takes on this custom order. At her grandmother’s birthday he experiences the bittersweet effect his art can have on the family of those long lost, and is inspired.
  • Paragraph 175

    Suphan, Jessica (2017)
    Rationale: No one wants to talk about LGBT+ history. As if we didn't exist outside the AIDS crisis and our suffering in the Holocaust is just the word "homosexual" in the list of those who were wronged, easily skipped over. This piece was inspired by those whose suffering is seen as a footnote, because they deserve to be brought back to life. Paragraph 175 refers to a longstanding provision of the German Criminal Code that outlawed homosexual acts between men. Synopsis: Our main character Aloys and his lover Otto begin the story by hiding from the SS in an alleyway. They're torn apart but reunited months later, with whispers of Allied forces amongst homosexual-specific horrors. As expectations mount the two dare to dream of a life together, of happiness. When the Allies attack the camp a soldier gets into the homosexual part of the camp and orders them all inside so they're not shot. But once they obey he locks them in, rescuing everyone else while leaving them all to die.
  • Hide

    Squires, Allison (2016)
    Synopsis: Based on fact. In 1942, Amsterdam begins to feel the clutch of German Nazi reign. Miep Gies, recently married and working as a secretary, must make the choice between values and security to save the family of her boss and friend, Otto Frank. Rationale: My inspiration for this short story came from taking the class "Anne Frank: The Adolescent Self" with Dr. Carol Lipszyc last spring. While the class detailed Frank's writing and her growth as an artist and young adult during her family's time in the attic, I found myself fascinated and saddened by the war's atmosphere in Europe at the time. The general feeling of gloom and anxiety was so much less sprightly than Anne's writing. Nazi forces had entered Holland by 1940, and slowly began implementing more and more rules designed to oppress and identify the country's Jewish population. The rest, narrowly saved by birth or marriage, stood directly in the face of a choice between speaking out or staying silent, and for many, certainly, silence was safer. Yet some brave souls could not be silenced -- so they worked as quietly as they could to save their neighbors and friends from a horrible fate. The story of such heroes as Miep and Jan Gies, who helped to hide the Frank family for more than two years, is one of the greatest instances of human kindness I have ever heard of, and one that moved and inspired me to illustrate the enormous decision made in one small Amsterdam kitchen.
  • The Man I Never Knew

    Cohen, Alice (2015)
    The atrocities of the Holocaust have left many without grandparents, husbands and wives, sons and daughters; generations were wiped out, cutting family trees short and memories to never be made. This poem is in honor of my grandfather whom I never had the chance to meet, but also speaks for all who were lost from this tragedy in history, for all who have “a man they never knew.” Through the power of repetition, the message strongly conveyed in this poem is about what was taken—the future and the memories of what could have been. I was truly inspired by this concept and created a poem around the sensations that I have been robbed of. For that alone, I believe that this poem will resonate with those who have lost loved ones in the Holocaust and also trigger the image of what could have been if “the man I never knew” was here today.
  • Sonnets for Remembrance

    Stone, Jennifer (2011)
  • Organized Chaos

    Mathers, Cara-Jean (2011)
    When Dr. Schaefer first introduced the Skopp Project in class I was immediately interested because of my family's connection with World War II. Most of the men on my mother's side including my grandfather who fought on the beaches of Normandy brought or sent home memorabilia. This summer when we were cleaning out an old camp that used to belong to my Grandfather we found a box with a Nazi swastika eagle on it that was filled with various things containing swastikas. The box was very fresh in my mind when Dr. Schaefer introduced the project because I was very curious about, what actually happened in Nazi Germany. That is why i decided to participate in the competition, however that is not the motivation for my project. What really gave me the idea was a movie that 1 watched in my HIS285 class entitled Night and Fog, which depicted what the remaining death camps really looked like. The first thing that I noticed in the movie was that everything in the camp was a straight edged rectangle, it interested me because I had never really thought about the actual process of what it takes to plan the extermination of a race. Everything was carefully calculated and figured out, nothing was left to chance. What I want people to really reflect on is how something as chaotic as the Holocaust can occur in places that were so carefully planned and organized. My project is going to consist of a replica model of Auschwitz-Birkineau. I am going recreate the structures of the death camp on a scale thai everyone can grasp. The "ground" of the model is going to be a series of different poems that express some of the details of what occurred at that camp and different ideas that people have about the holocaust. Poems are the best way to get people to reflect and think about something because they in themselves have to be interpreted and reflected upon. The poems are also there to further demonstrate the chaos among the organization because of the ideas and feelings that they will express. The model of the camp shows the perfectly rectangular buildings while the poems scattered throughout represent the people and the ideas that died there and survived there. No one really ever thinks about the planning of the Holocaust, most think about how something like that could happen. The best way to understand how it happened through a visual aid is to depict the planning that went into it and show the destructive power of organized chaos. After all most people by nature are 50% logic and 50% chaos.
  • The Sins of the Father: Generational Conflict, Vergangeheitsbewältigung, and the Creation of a Militant Generation

    Angilleta, Umberto (2013)
    This research paper has developed in conjunction with my academic development. I first became acquainted with the topic of vergangenheitsbewaltigung during my freshman year at SUNY Plattsburgh. Since then, I have done much reading (personal and academic) on how Germany, particularly the Federal Republic, 'worked through' their past and have found the tumultuous history' fascinating. In addition to the conceptual notions of 'collective guilt', I am also intrigued by the late 20th century social movements. and their development into radical domestic terrorist organizations. As the Skopp Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust is primarily a creative competition, I elected to assume a non-specific issue of 'remembrance'. I argue that the sweeping social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s-70s have their roots in the perpetration of the Holocaust, and how it was (not) dealt with in the years immediately following the war. This research paper attempts to look at how post-genocidal Germans remembered the Holocaust, and how it spurred the social and cultural revolutions that have contributed so much to the postmodern and political Left.
  • A Granddaughter's Onus

    Katz, Deborah (2013)
    All four of my grandparents were touched by the events of the Holocaust. Every family origin story told to me either began or ended with this event. Today, as the generation that was directly affected by the Holocaust leaves us, I find myself with a need to learn more about my family’s personal history, because some things should not be forgotten. At the same time, my own life has taught me the importance of letting go of pain, anger, and especially of hatred. Currently, I struggle with my individual narrative of my family’s origin and history. The Holocaust is without a doubt an incredibly important event, having caused the movement and death of many family members. And yet, my grandparents also had long lives after, doing wonderful things with their lives. This poem was created in light of my growing understanding of the Holocaust, the current day and age in which we live and my own forming identity. What started as a series of one stanza Haiku eventually became one long poem. I had originally intended to create a group of small moments at different times and placed, all set during the Holocaust. Upon proof reading the poems, I noticed that all of them reflected specific moments that are embedded in personal narratives of my grandparents. Putting them together, I started to create my own personal narrative, ending the poem just before I move past my introduction. With all my life left to live and learn from, I felt that what is most important for me and my generation is to learn the stories and vow that we will pass on the stories and lessons from the Sho’ah, rather than deciding now what stories need to be heard.