The Virginia Holocaust Museum is pleased to announce its newest student opportunity, The White Rose Student Research Contest, open to 8th-12th grade students. The 2021 contest theme is:


Propaganda is the utilization of a message to sway opinion – be that in the form of advertising a product or selling a political message. In 21st century America, the word propaganda carries a connotation that makes us uneasy. We equate it with manipulation for negative purposes. Much of this perspective is born out of the propaganda from World War I and World War II.

During the Nazi period, propaganda was used for a variety of purposes ranging from electioneering to preparing the highly integrated German society to view their own neighbors as inferior beings worthy of exclusion and, eventually, annihilation.

Much of Nazi propaganda focused on amplifying and creating differences among those under Nazi control. Some propaganda promoted “Aryan” ideals and sought to win supporters by making people feel included in the racial community of Nazi Germany. Other examples aimed to highlight the perceived dangers posed by those the Nazis wished to exclude from society.


  • Each contestant is limited to one entry per year.
  • Previous winners may enter again.
  • Projects will be evaluated on historical accuracy, development of content and theme, and original expression according to this rubric.
  • All entries become property of the Virginia Holocaust Museum and will not be returned.
  • Applicants give the Virginia Holocaust Museum permission to reprint entries.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Entries are accepted in two categories – documentary or essay.
  • Entries are accepted in two age divisions – 8-9th grade and 10-12th grade.
  • We ask students and educators to respect the privacy of the survivors and to refrain from conducting personal interviews.

Contest Entry Deadline:  November 30th, 2021


Using at least 3 of the documents provided below, plus a minimum of 2 outside resources, prepare an essay or documentary that addresses all parts of the following topic:

  • RESEARCH: Analyze two examples of Nazi propaganda – one aimed at inclusion and the other aimed at exclusion. Describe the goals and methods of Nazi propaganda as seen in your examples. Be sure to discuss when they were produced and for what purpose. Who is being targeted for inclusion/exclusion?
  • REFLECTION: American philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote, “Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.” What is Hoffer trying to express about human nature? Do you agree? Why or why not?


You must base your research on at least three of the following documents. All documents referenced from this list are considered electronic sources and the Works Cited page should clearly denote that they were referenced from the VHM site. That citation can take any format chosen by the teacher.


The White Rose Student Research Contest is open to 8th-12th grade students.


  • Finalists will be identified by a panel of judges
  • The top prize winner in each category and age level will be awarded a $300 prize.
  • The sponsoring teacher of each first prize winner will be awarded a voucher worth $150 for use on professional development and/or Holocaust resources.


The contest is sponsored by generous donors that are committed to supporting Holocaust education.  


The contest is named in memory of the White Rose, a resistance movement consisting of German university students. Among them were Hans and Sophie Scholl, along with several friends and their professor, were arrested and executed for distributing leaflets denouncing the policies of the Nazi regime. The project commemorates the efforts of these brave young people who gave their lives for what they believed in. May their memories inspire us to reflect upon our own responsibilities as citizens in a democratic nation.


Email Megan Ferenczy Director of Education,

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