US Holocaust Memorial Museum

“Remember the past and learn from it.”

By Sierra Queen

Background Information
A living memorial to the Holocaust, since its opening in April 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The Museum’s primary mission is to advance and spread knowledge about the Holocaust, to preserve the memory of those who suffered, and to encourage the visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the Holocaust. (www.ushmm.org)

Our Experience
After splitting up into groups we took a tour through the museum. We saw many disturbing images and learned about the inhumane deeds that were committed under Nazi Tyranny. Such as experimentation, concentration camps, “showers”, the mass killings of handicaps, and many more terrible happenings. We were all haunted by these ghastly events. This has opened our eyes and has certainly left a mark on me.

We learned about Collaboration and Complicity and how that played a huge part in the Holocaust. In fact there was an exhibit on it. Complicity really angered me because just following everyone else and not doing anything when you know something wrong is being committed is complete cowardice. In the museum there was a quote that I think represents this:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
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 out for me.

– The Reverend Martin Niemoller, a pastor in the German Confessing Church

The Big Ideas
Throughout the museum a prevalent message that we all saw was “Remember” and “Do not let history repeat itself”. We all agreed that those were a huge part of the Holocaust Museum. The people who have suffered have stories, and it is important to know them. So we can share and let their memory live on and make sure there will never be another Holocaust. This is why we agreed that “Remember the past and learn from it” should be our big idea.