Holocaust Museum a place of remembrance

Commentary by Abby Chester
Times-News correspondent

   WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Holocaust was a time of great suffering for many people in Europe. Millions of people died under Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror in World War II against Jews, gypsies, people with deformities, and all others he thought were “not perfect.” To remember this inhumane genocide, a museum was erected to honor all of those who were killed. It is a place of quiet mourning and remembrance for everyone, not just people whose loved ones were killed or tortured.
The Holocaust Museum features three permanent exhibit floors about the Holocaust, and special exhibits, including Daniel’s Story, an exhibit about the story of a child named Daniel who had lived through the Holocaust with only his father left alive. Although Daniel was not an actual child in the Holocaust, and his story is only partly real, many children went through what Daniel did. His story tells about how he and his family were Jewish but had not been persecuted yet because his father was in the military.
   But no Jewish family was lucky enough to escape Nazi soldiers. Daniel and his family were sent to the ghetto and later, a concentration camp. His mother and sister perished quickly in the camps, but Daniel and his father made it out alive. This exhibit is for children because it gives a taste of what the Holocaust was like for those who were being hunted down without having to go through the permanent exhibits, which show graphic pictures of concentration camps and suffering people, especially Jews.
For those who want to go through the permanent exhibits in the museum, the floors go in chronological order. Starting with floor four, this exhibit tells about Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and the start of the persecution of people.
Then, you go down to floor three, where most of the graphic pictures are. This floor shows the full force of Nazi hate against Jews and is the floor where the Nazis are creating concentration camps and ghettos to make these people suffer.
Lastly, the second floor is dedicated to the emptying of the concentration camps and the fall of Nazi Germany. It tells how many people were doing all they could to save Jews and others under Hitler’s wrath. There is a statue that represents all of the names of people who helped save those who were being persecuted.
And finally, Daniel’s story is on the first floor to attract children and adults who want to look into the life of a boy during the Holocaust who did all he could to save himself and his family.
If you go, know that tickets are free, but you must choose whether to do the whole museum or just Daniel’s story. The museum runs out most days, so you might want to get your tickets early in the day. The museum is open every day of the year except Yom Kippur and Christmas, and the hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Just remember that this is a place of mourning for many people, so quiet and remembrance is expected in the museum. For more details, visit www.ushmm.org/.

 Abby Chester is a seventh-grader at Western Alamance Middle School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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