FAIRFIELD — Madina Saleh and Haneen Abuteen, students at the Madina Academy in Windsor, have been named winners of the 2018 Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County (JHSFC) Connecticut National History Day Contest. The seventh-graders’ outstanding entry focused on Anne Frank’s life during the Holocaust.
Madina and Haneen, who are Muslim, were so moved by the story of the young diarist who spent years hiding with her family from the Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam that they were compelled to dug deeper and deeper into the details of her life. Their search resulted in the creation of an original performance entitled “Anne Frank: Hiding for the Last Time.” The production was judged to be the competition entry that best incorporated Jewish history, heritage, and/or a Jewish personality.
The play was motivated by passion — a passion for the story of Anne Frank, combined with a passion for theater arts.
Madina, who enjoys theater, debate, reading, writing, and playing sports, was the one who first envisioned Anne Frank’s story as a play. She convinced Haneen — who describes her favorite activities outside the classroom as reading, making slime and keeping fish — that writing and performing in an original production would be thought-provoking.
As they started to write their script, the students realized they needed to expand their knowledge of the Holocaust and the era in which Anne lived. In addition to hours of extensive research and advice and guidance provided by their teacher, Salwa Collins, the two young women credit their understanding of Anne Frank’s experience to insight provided by local Holocaust survivor Tuttie Fishman who, although five years younger than Anne, was a prisoner in the same concentration camp.
To view the prize-winning entry, visit the JHSFC website at www.jhsfc-ct.org, or at the JHSFC Archives, 990 [Rear] Hope Avenue, Stamford.
CAP: Seventh-graders Madina Saleh (right) and Haneen Abuteen are winners of the 2018 Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County Connecticut National History Day Contest.