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.