≡ Menu

October 18, 2014 – Holocaust Museum Tour.

20141018_090138 On October, 18, 2014, two full buses (about 100 students) arrived at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. at 0900 hrs. We were welcomed and were provided a briefing on what we were about to see. We were further provided a history lesson with an eye-opening back story that most people who attend the museum would never identify with the way this group (or any group) of law enforcement officers would. Photography within the museum is almost entirely banned. Our tour guide took a group of nine of us on a time line style tour. The tour was thought provoking on many levels. It is unbelievable that one human could so masterfully take over the hearts and minds of so many people, while many others stood by and either ignored the gruesome and inhumane acts or were in total disbelief of what was happening. There lies the incorporation of law enforcement of the time. An almost hidden theme throughout the tour was that "normally good people" (especially law enforcement) stood by and allowed the genocide to occur. One of the most striking photographs (that did not directly involve death and suffering) during the tour was that of a what appears to be a German Jewish Police Officer helping the Nazi's direct victims who appear to be standing in line or traveling to a location on foot. Upon searching on-line I found that some of those photographs may have been intentionally staged by the Nazi's (negative propaganda). Here is one such photograph.

holocaust1

There are a lot of terrifying exhibits within the museum. The actual full size (death camp) box car elicited an intense eerie feeling as I walked though it to get to the other side of the exhibit. There is also a miniature (cut-a-way) version of an entire death camp. There is no way for me to describe the majority of the exhibits/recreations within the museum because they are beyond most peoples grasp of understanding (including mine)without the visual impact. The museum curator has done a tremendous job of weaving together the story of how the holocaust was able to happen and the accurate history of what occurred and who stood by, collaborated, and took lead roles, in nearly wiping out the Jewish people.

The best quote to sum up the experience and general feeling I had at the end of the tour, which is actually on one of the walls of the museum, is:

"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." - by Matin Niemoller who according to www.ushmm.org (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was a German theologian and pastor who originally supported the Nazi's in Germany and later was sent to prison for his opposition of the Nazi party. If you are interested in learning more about the Holocaust or the United States Holocaust Museum click on this link http://www.ushmm.org  

20141018_085654

Washington Monument from the Holocaust Museum

3 comments… add one

  • Marjorie Grilli October 19, 2014, 11:17 am

    This is someplace I would love to see. When I was 16, I had the opportunity to go to the Netherlands and see the house of Anne Frank.The emotions that overcame me as I walked up the narrow staircase, and through the halls of the hidden upper level I cant describe. It was eerie to see the actual diary,to see the handwriting, and though I cant read German, to know that this is the story of a little girl, just a couple of years younger than I was at the time, and to know of the nightmares in which she, along with thousands of Jews endured. Out of everything I saw that summer in Europe, I think this is the place that impacted me the most.It is something you will never forget, seeing this museum.

  • Mike October 19, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Awesome quote. Makes me wonder if in some ways history is trying to repeat itself.

  • Manley Jaquiss October 21, 2014, 7:30 pm

    It looks like you are getting a once in a lifetime experience and well deserved. Cohort 9 at USF s proud of your accomplishments. Go Bulls!!

Leave a Comment