Monday, March 15, 2010

The Shoes were actually the saddest commentary for me!

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum depicts the history of the 6 million Jews and others who suffered and died during the Nazis rule of Germany. (1933-1945). It is dedicated to documenting, studying, and interpreting the history of the Holocaust. The facilities house a number of exhibitions, artworks, publications, and artifacts relating to the Holocaust. The museum collects and preserves material evidence, distributes educational materials, and produces public programming. The Holocaust Museum also holds annual Holocaust commemorations and remembrances

When you enter, you will be issued an identity card of an actual victim of the Holocaust;From its collection of more than 12,435 artifacts, the museum has organized some 900 items and 70 video monitors to reveal the Jewish experience in three parts: Nazi Assault, Final Solution, and Last Chapter. The tour begins on the fourth floor, where exhibits portray the events of 1933 to 1939, the years of the Nazi rise to power. On the third floor (documenting 1940-44), exhibits illustrate the narrowing choices of people caught up in the Nazi machine. You board a Polish freight car of the type used to transport Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka and hear recordings of survivors telling what life in the camps was like.

The second floor recounts a more heartening story: It depicts how non-Jews throughout Europe, by exercising individual action and responsibility, saved Jews at great personal risk. Denmark—led by a king who swore that if any of his subjects wore a yellow star, so would he—managed to hide and save 90% of its Jews. Exhibits follow on the liberation of the camps, life in Displaced Persons camps, emigration to Israel and America, and the Nuremberg trials. At the end of the permanent exhibition is a most compelling and heartbreaking hour-long film called Testimony, in which Holocaust survivors tell their stories. The tour concludes in the hexagonal Hall of Remembrance, where you can meditate and light a candle for the victims.

Before Jews were gassed at killing centers such as Majdanek, Treblinka and Auschwitz, the SS seized all of their possessions. These shoes, about 3,000 are on display at the Museum, were confiscated from prisoners in Majdanek (courtesy, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

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