In the fall of 2009, three women’s passion for increasing student awareness about the Holocaust led to the beginning of the Unknown Child Holocaust Pennies Project. The students would endeavor to collect one and a half million pennies in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust.
Students began writing letters to actors, athletes and politicians asking for donations. The following year these students were joined by a home school group who were going door-to-door, having coupon sales and carnivals. The owner of the Peabody Place Mall gave the students permission to scoop up all the coins in the fountain. There was a contagious excitement as the number of pennies grew.
After three years of collecting pennies and developing relationships with the Jewish community, the students were able to achieve their goal of collecting 1.5 million pennies in remembrance of the unknown children of the Holocaust.
Out of the Pennies Project was born the Unknown Child Foundation, organized for the purpose of creating a children’s Holocaust remembrance park (one of very few in the world) in Desoto County, which will tell the story of the 1.5 million slain children.
The Unknown Child Foundation has commissioned Rick Wienecke from Israel to create the sculpture of the Unknown Child. Wienecke has other Holocaust pieces in Israel and soon in Auschwitz, Poland. We believe this project is a reflection of the good work God is doing in the hearts of Mississippians and Mid-Southerners.
Giving Voice to the Children of the Holocaust
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Did you know? A single penny weighs about 2.5 grams. But 1.5 million pennies weigh over 4 tons!!