Meet the Nominees of the 2023 Chapman University Holocaust Art & Writing Contest


Kyle Khong, Contributor

Nominee Review

Why did the Chapman Nominees make their art?

Art is the representation of one’s understanding and feeling of it. Many didn’t truly comprehend it during the week of the Champan project but these few have. Their understanding was so good that they had to be taken to a ceremony to celebrate their work. Let’s see how they made it to the top.

Khiana Antoesk: Film Nominee

Survivor Chosen: Esther Chaplupovitsch

Q: What’s your survivor’s story?

A: 25 year old Danish-Jew, Esther Chalupovitsch, escaped from the German invasion of Denmark to Sweden. Her family had to go from place to place in order to be safe, even resorting to stay at a fisherman warehouse for a night. Everywhere she went she’d been found by the Nazis, but she finally escaped to Sweden by boat, getting chased by Nazis, on a cold and stormy night on the ocean. Her story was one of hardships and prejudice, but she survived it all with her family.   

Q: Which part of the survivor’s story affected you the most?

A: When the family had to split up, a couple wanted to stay in Sweden. I couldn’t stand being without my family so I felt a special connection with that.

Q: How did the survivor’s story affect your understanding of the Holocaust?

A: It gave me an inside view, gave me empathy on how much I related towards it, like the instance of sticking with mom, and sisters, I couldn’t be without them. 

Q: What was your intention of making this art for your survivor?

A: My intention in making the film for my Holocaust Survivor was to spread her story of living through the Holocaust. I wanted more people to know about how strong she was to live through that and survive.

Dalton Betzold (Art Nominee)

Survivor Chosen: Marion Chervin

Q: What’s your survivor’s story?

A: Marion Chervin was a Jewish man who experienced emotional and physical pain in a time of trauma and distress. After the passing of his mother, he married a woman he met at work and they both stayed in the Jewish community. When the war began he, his wife, sister, aunt, and father-in-law were sent to a ghetto, where they experienced unimaginable torture. After his father-in-law was killed, the rest of the group faced bombing, airstrikes, tanks, explosions, and their ghetto being lit on fire. When they realize they are all alive and are transported to a new ghetto where Marion’s aunt dies, Marion is unfortunately separated from his wife and sister-in-law and never sees them again.

 Q: Which part of the survivor’s story affected you the most?

A: The part of my survivor story that affected me the most was when Marion explained how difficult it was to see people, all equal, being killed because they believed differently in a religious sense. 

Q: How did the survivor’s story affect your understanding of the Holocaust?

A: My survivor’s story affected my understanding of the Holocaust because his story gave me a sense of what seeing and experiencing those events felt like. Although I couldn’t imagine what that was like, it gave me a very descriptive idea.

 Q: What was your intention of making this art for your survivor?

A: The intention of my art was to capture one of the key details Marion described was his, his wife, sister in law, and aunts life or death situation. I wanted to do this memory of Marion’s because he took a leap of bravery to 1, survive, but 2, it was what kept other Jews alive living inside the camp.

Maddison Ma: Art Nominee 

Survivor Chosen: Jadzia Stern

Q: What’s your survivor’s story?

A: The survivor I chose to center my art piece around is Jadzia Stern. At a young age she always felt different from the other children and she was aware that the reason why is because Jadzia was Jewish. Although she was treated nicely the other children identified her as “Jewish girl” Later in her life she and her family were forced to live in the ghetto and they were forced to hide in an attic with only a few fruits to eat. The Nazis eventually found their hiding spot and separated Jadzia’s parents and sisters. Then she was sent to a concentration camp in Auschwitz with many days of harsh labor ahead of her.

Q: Which part of the survivor’s story affected you the most?

A: The part of Jadzia’s story that affected me the most was when she had severe fever while in the concentration camp and was unable to get out of bed. She knew that if she didn’t get to work she would be punished. She heard a voice telling her to get up and that she has to live. I infer that this was her determination to live on despite the horrid circumstances she is in. In her lowest times Jadzia would hear the voice of her mother telling her that she must live and she claims that it was what kept her going.

Q: How did the survivor’s story affect your understanding of the Holocaust?

A:  After hearing Jadzia’s story it deepened my empathy for the Holocaust survivors, their families, and the lasting impact it had on the world. It also gave me more of an understanding of their experiences and trauma.

Q: What was your intention of making this art for your survivor?

A:  My intention of making this art for Jadzia Stern was to represent her memories and experiences in the holocaust. I drew the spirit of her mother consoling her in the center to show their love for one another. Around the page there are few of Jadzia’s experiences in the Holocaust.



    Teachers are only allowed to pick 3 students, from the different categories; art, film, poetry, or prose. First-Place student winners in the US along with their parents, are given a paid study trip to visit the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. There were strict instructions, many prompts, inspirations, and all of them could be found here Chapman EDU.

Teacher’s feelings

Mrs. Carlos states, “The Chapman Holocaust Art and Writing project is a national competition with students from all over the United States submitting outstanding work that captures the preservation of a survivor’s experience and memory. I was incredibly excited when I learned that our very own Khiana Antoszek was chosen as a finalist for her beautiful film. She placed in the top four and I couldn’t be prouder of her”.

Overall, all the contestants have worked hard to earn the title of “nominee’ for the Chapman University Holocaust Competition. They not only had the accomplishment of being recognized but all the knowledge from the story they have been told.