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The Holocaust Education Patch Project

There is a significant gap in public knowledge when it comes to the efforts of women and girls during the Holocaust and World War II, and even more so when it comes to the role of Girl Scouts. In the United States, Girl Scouts contributed to the war effort by taking over routine jobs, raising funds, running community service operations, and providing community for European refugees. Girl Guides, the European counterpart to Girl Scouts, worked relentlessly during the Holocaust and WWII as a force for good. They rescued children from the Warsaw Ghetto, organized hospitals and refugee shelters, fed soldiers, and extinguished incendiary bombs. 

Despite this extraordinary history, and while there are other social justice-related patches available to Girl Scouts in the region, there is currently no formal opportunity for Girl Scouts in Western Pennsylvania to learn about the Holocaust, antisemitism, or the role of Girl Scouts and Guides in WWII. Local Pittsburgh Girl Scout Lily Sassani wants to change this by creating a brand new patch that addresses these important topics for her Gold Award Project.

Learning about the Girl Guides in the Holocaust changed me; I gained pride in who I am, and extreme pride in the Jewish Girl Scouts before me who modeled exactly what being a Girl Scout and being Jewish means. My hope is that if the stories of the Girl Guides in the Holocaust are told, then others can find the same sense of self and pride that I found, misconceptions can be alleviated, and that the women who preserved hope in the face of genocide can be recognized in history not just as victims, but as heroes.

Lily Sassani

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh is thrilled to be mentoring Lily during her project and helping create a curriculum that provides education on Jewish history, antisemitism, identity-based hate, and the Girl Scouts and Guides who responded to the humanitarian crisis of the Holocaust. The learning required to complete the patch will bring light to historical stories of courage, resistance, sacrifice, and resilience among women and inspire Girl Scouts of today to become upstanders in their own communities.

Thank you to the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh for generously funding this work.

Check back for more information and project updates!