The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC is definitely a place that I think any adult should visit. I would certainly not say it is “fun,” but it is very interesting and very somber. Even as I was looking at pictures and artifacts that prove that this really happened, I found myself wondering how humans can do this to other humans. I wonder if any of the SS Police felt bad about what they were doing, or if every single one of them believed in their cause; if they truly believed that every Jewish person (and others they deemed inferior), deserved to be obliterated from the earth.
Many years ago, I was watching an old movie with my dad. I hardly remember anything about it, but it was about the Holocaust and Jane Seymour was forced into a train car with a lot of other people to be taken to a concentration camp. I don’t remember much more about this movie than this scene, but I think about it quite often. I think about how they shoved people into train cars and did not give them food or water for days while they traveled to concentration camps.
At the museum today, they had a train car to represent the size of one that up to 100 people were herded into, and it was sickening to realize just how horrific and inhuman this was.
The museum was organized very well. It began with the events leading up to the Nazi occupation of Germany, and brought us through the end of the Holocaust when people could finally be rescued/come out of hiding/reunited with their families. There was a lot of reading and it was a little difficult to fully understand some of the artifacts because most things were written in German. The plaques did a good job of describing things, but I feel like some pieces were missed because of the language barrier.
I could go into detail about some of the specific things that really struck a chord with me, but there were so many. Photographs were not allowed in most of the museum, so I just did not take any, but this picture from the brochure speaks volumes:
The smell of leather that filled the air was a very real reminder that this horrible part of history actually happened. The people who once wore these shoes had real hopes and real dreams about their future, having no idea that one day, their belongings would be used as a memorial for one of the world’s darkest moments in history.
Total cost: $0 for museum entry (Or $1 if you want a guaranteed entrance time. You can order it online)