Remembering The Holocaust (Holocaust Museum In Washington, D.C.) This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   On entering the small cramped elevator in the museum, we are pushed around, making us feel like we are entering a cattle car awaiting our fate. As soon as we reach the fourth floor and the doors open, people in the crowd breathe a sigh of relief as they are freed from the cramped quarters. Straight ahead lies a hall which begins our journey through a time in our history many would rather forget: the holocaust.

People of all ages, races, and religious backgrounds stand gazing at photos and objects displayed behind glass barriers. Aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers listen intently to the recording that narrates the tour. Besides this voice, occasional whispers and the shuffling of feet on the shiny black tiles are the only sounds.

As I walk along, the many turns in the halls make me feel as if I am in a large maze. I recall learning about the Holocaust in school, but I never felt how real it was up until this point. Looking to my right, I see a picture of Adolf Hitler in his crisp green uniform with a red armband, displaying the swastika. He is smiling as he salutes the large crowd of faithful. I see a photo of Nazi soldiers grinning despite the fact that they are surrounded by dead bodies. Shoes, black and grey shoes, of all sizes and styles, are piled high in the area ahead of me. Clothes are heaped around these shoes. These articles belonged to the prisoners, who wore them before their death.

Walking further along, I enter a room with pictures all around going up and down the walls from ceiling to floor. They are of men, women, and children: families, happy and smiling, unaware of the persecution they will undergo because of their religious beliefs.

On the next floor, I am drawn to the corner of a dimly lit room that displays a very large, tan-colored model of the gas chambers. The model has tiny hand-carved figures standing in long lines to take what the Nazis referred to as their "cleansing showers to kill germs and diseases." Nearby an actual film shows Nazi guards leading prisoners on a march through a wooded area. Guards push and shove prisoners, shooting those unable to keep up, leaving them to die. On another screen a woman is interviewed who took part in one of the marches, and survived. She tells how it continued day and night for miles on end. She says, "We would take turns sleeping as we walked that path. We would lean on the person ahead of us resting only five minutes at a time so the person behind us could sleep too."

As I enter another room, I see a showcase with personal items (combs, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and jewelry) taken from the Jewish people before they were forcibly relocated to the ghettos. Books are piled high in another showcase. Tattered paperbacks and old hardcover books of different colors sit on the floor. They remind us of all of the books Hitler ordered to be burned because they were against his teachings. Another photo shows young children throwing books into a huge bonfire. They have been told that this is what to do if they love their country.

As I come to another hallway, I am led to the last room. It is bright, built entirely of a tan-colored marble. There are many windows and a skylight that allows the sun to shine. In the center of the room a flame burns to remind us that we must never forget the Holocaust where over six million Jewish people died. But this flame doesn't just represent hope for them: it radiates hope for all people of every race and religion that have ever stood up for something they believe in. *


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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YellowAsian14 said...
Apr. 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm
I saw the museum when we went to D.C. It is something I'm never going to forget. Your article decribes it well.
 
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