Saturday, June 15, 2013

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC

 

A museum of the Holocaust, how would/could they do this? What would it be like?  We expected however the experience would not leave us smiling, but felt it was important to go to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The exhibits are organized in chronological order. They start with how Hitler and the Nazi party came to power, how the atrocities against Jews and other non-Aryans escalated over time, the ending of the war and to how the world powers (including the US) after liberating the concentration camps dealt with the millions of displaced Jewish people that had no home or country to return. Apparently the Nazis were quite proud of what they were doing because they documented everything, in many cases filming the atrocities. Some of these films were potentially so disturbing to visitors to the museum, that there were walls around the monitors so one had to make an effort to view the film. The exhibits ended in the Hall of Remembrance where people could pay their respects to those who were slaughtered. Other exhibits included the actual shoes of those sent to their death in concentration camp gas chambers, as well as hairbrushes, razors and other person effects.

The museum did an amazing job of presenting this subject, educating those people that know nothing about the topic to filling in the blanks for those people that know a little more. The prevailing theme throughout the museum was to instill in people that these types of atrocities cannot happen again. One cannot experience this museum and not be touched.

Throughout Washington DC, at every museum and public building there are armed security checkpoints and bag searches, but at this museum the security presence was noticeably much larger, more seriously conducted with more thorough searches, to the point where Brad was asked to drink from a bottle of water he was carrying before admitted. Given the subject matter of the museum and the hatred and antisemitism that still exists in the world today, one can understand and appreciate the need.

Due to the high number of visitors, the museum must limit the number of people at given times. To do this they hand out free, tickets same-day tickets for admittance at a future time normally later on the same day. We went right at the opening of the museum (10am) and got tickets for 12:15pm.

This was a great experience and tops our list for what we’ve done in Washington DC. Don’t miss this museum! The museum only allows photography in a couple areas thus the absence of photos; the one at the top is a Star of David that Jews were forced to wear as the Holocaust begun.

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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