Sixth-grade students of Gesher Hebrew School in suburban Buffalo have begun the task of collecting six million pennies to try and grasp the reality of the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, WIVB news reported.
The students were motivated by the Paper Clips Project that took place in Whitwell Tennessee in 1998, where students began collecting paper clips for the same purpose.
The initiative, which upon last count reportedly accumulated more than 30 million paper clips, was featured in an award winning documentary film released in 2004 by Miramax films.
Paper Clips Project Coordinator Linda Hooper was the keynote speaker at Buffalo's Yom Hashoah observance Sunday. She answered questions from some Gesher students following the ceremony.
"Their ideas have spread all over the world," said Hooper during her address to some 500 people in attendance at Temple Beth Tzedek.
"We kind of went right into what they did, only with pennies," said 11 year-old Mason Botwin. He stated his bewilderment that there are no Jewish residents in Whitwell, located about 30 miles west of Chattanooga.
To date, the Gesher students have collected about 50,000 pennies, which will be donated this week to the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.