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Paper Clips Review

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A school in Whitwell Tennessee set out to collect 6 million paperclips for each Jewish victim of the holocaust as part of a project to understand the scale of the horror. The endeavour inspires even politicians and celebrities to get involved.

★★★★★

The dangers of religious and racial intolerance are not something you expect to find being taught in a middle school of an all-white, all-Christian town (pop. 2000) in America’s Bible belt. Yet in 1998, a group of Tennessee students learning about the six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust conceived a unique tribute to the dead: collecting one paper clip for every murdered soul.

This inexpertly-crafted yet well-intentioned documentary follows the students and faculty as they amass 29 million paper clips -- donated by Holocaust survivors, members of the public, and celebrities as diverse as President Bush and Tom Hanks -- and set about housing 11 million of them (one for every Jew, homosexual, gypsy and other minority group murdered by the Nazis) in a disused kindertransport train car shipped from Germany.

This documentary, about a Tennessee school’s unique memorial to Nazi victims, brings a lump to the throat without resorting to emotional manipulation. Deserves an A for effort.

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