The Holocaust Museum

*This post was much longer, but blogger decided to delete a ton of my posts a while back and sadly I lost a lot of information from this post*

One museum that I knew I definitely wanted to go to was The Holocaust Museum here in DC. I've mentioned before that this is a historical event that I've always been very interested in. However, this museum is in extremely high demand and to get tickets you either need to call a few months in advance to reserve tickets or go stand in line about 8:30 in the morning and wait until they hand out the tickets at 10:00. The line gets very long, so to ensure that you are one of the people who gets a ticket I recommend going early. The first time I tried I only went about 9:30 and there were literally hundreds of people in line. The second time I made sure to get there much earlier and I had no problem getting a ticket and even met some really nice people in line.
According to a handout I picked up: The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jew by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jew, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat tot he so-called German racial community. To learn more go to USHMM.org
As most museums in DC do, they had a metal detector they required you to walk through and they scan your bags, just like at the airport. However, for the first time, I was required to take a sip of my water in front of them to show that it was actually a drink and not a dangerous liquid. I realize that there is a lot of hate directed towards this museum and a lot of crazies, but at the same time, practically everything in the museum is replaceable - photographs, movies, quotes etc. are all easily replaced. But when you go into an art museum with 500 year old irreplaceable originals you are not asked to drink water. Anyway, it wasn't a big deal, but I just found it odd that this is the only museum that required me to do that.
You can choose which time you would like to go in later in the day and they will give you a ticket for that time. And this is completely random, but the museum hands out some extremely high quality pamphlets on very nice paper.
Each person is given an identification card before they begin walking around. This is my card.

Olga sounds like an incredibly brave person.
Yikes, you don't hear about people being beheaded very often during the Holocaust.
I wasn't sure how appropriate it was to take pictures while walking through the museum so I only took a few. There is a strong focus on the backgrounds of Jews and how absolutely hated they have been throughout history. People have always been cruel to them it seems. Even respected people such as Martin Luther said terrible things about him. According to the film I watched he used to have good things to say about the Jews, but when they wouldn't convert he then began speaking terribly about them. I pretty much feel that no hate towards another person is justified, but sometimes when someone has horribly wronged another person it's easier to understand why the animosity exists between the two. But, with the Jews I can't seem to find anything they've done in the past that would provoke such non-stop hatred from so many people. Regardless, the hate they've been shown is completely uncalled for, but it seems especially horrible since I can't even find any reasons for people's insane anger towards them. And just less than a 100 years ago Germany called for a "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" and killed two-thirds of the Jewish population in prewar Europe.
The museum begins with showing how the Nazis and Hitler came to power and the things that led up to the War and the Holocaust. Then as you work your way through the museum you learn more about the concentration camps and the people themselves. Despite all of the books I've read on the Holocaust I think I had blocked out of my mind some of the terrible things they had to go through. This museum reminded me of the book burnings, mandatory sterilization, medical experiments etc. And it wasn't just the Jews who were targeted, but homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, people with disabilities, Roma (Gypsies, but Romas are their preferred name) and poles all suffered horrible oppression and death under Nazi tyranny. The short films The Nazi Rise to Power and Antisemitism are really good to watch while you're there.
They have some History channel type films you can watch here at the museum and then also some short real footage videos. They're incredibly graphic so must of them are behind a wall that only adults can look over and view. It's pretty disturbing. Watching bulldozers carelessly pick up and dump people in graves and watching living humans dragging dead humans with such carelessness is almost unfathomable. We have all seen pictures of emaciated concentration camp victims, but have you ever seen a video of them walking from behind? It's literally like watching a skeleton walk, I couldn't get over it. How could someone be so skinny and yet still be alive?
After learning about all of the hate, discrimination, torture, death etc. it was very pleasant to come to a wall that featured examples of people who risked their lives to save the Jews. This was honestly my favorite part of the whole museum. It was so inspiring. Throughout most of the museum you're constantly in shock of how terrible humans can be to each other and what awful things those in the concentration camps went through and it's just emotionally exhausting and negative. Although, as hard as it is I think it's necessary to see what really happened and understand it as best we can so that we can learn from that terrible time and not let it happen again. But then to come to this part of the museum and see how courageous and kind and selfless humans can be is so encouraging and hopeful.


In one of the pamphlets I picked up the famous quote was printed in there: "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me." - Martin Niemoller These people don't fall into the types of people mentioned in this quote because they definitely did speak out, even if not verbally.

I have actually written a post about Irena here.



I'm definitely glad I went. But it's very sad and eye-opening.


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