A 16-year-old high school student from the United Kingdom created a school project detailing the sordid history of Nazi Germany with Lego pieces, becoming an instant Internet sensation.
John Denno from Liverpool used the toy building blocks to illustrate Hitler’s rise to power, the Nuremberg laws, Kristallnacht, the Holocaust, D-Day and Germany’s capitulation, employing creative camera tricks and figurines from Star Wars and Harry Potter Lego sets.
The project, which has garnered attention from around the world, was a learning experience for the 16-year-old.
“The biggest thing I realized… is just how long the persecution went on,” Denno told Pixable.com. “From 1933, Jews slowly lost all their rights until they were being murdered in the thousands.”
“My project opens a small window on how the Nazi party did what they did, and, hopefully, it sparks interest for people to find out more themselves,” Denno added.
Denno’s work was praised by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
“I think he did a good job,” Cooper told the Huffington Post. “He said he learned from the project and he presented it with respect. Of course, this was a high school project done under the supervision of a teacher. It would be different if they made this into a ‘Lego movie.'”
The teen used Lego because of his knowledge of the popular toy set, initially expressing concern, however, that he may receive a low mark for his project.
“I chose Lego because that is what I’m good at,” Denno told The Huffington Post. “I can’t draw for the life of me so I thought this would be an interesting way to present the project… I’ve been building, animating and photographing Lego since I was very young.”
Denno said that he hoped the project would help personalize the Holocaust and expose his generation to the history of the Third Reich.
“People today are shown image after image of big black and white writing saying ‘REMEMBER’ until it becomes almost meaningless to them. They know the Holocaust happened, and that people died, but they don’t know why it happened or any of the history behind it.” Denno said.
“My project opens a small window on how the Nazi party did what they did, and, hopefully, it sparks interest for people to find out more themselves,” Denno said.
The high school student received an A for his project.