The living memorial to the Holocaust provided a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom.
I toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. As the permanent exhibits start, we were given an “identification card.” The card provided biographical information and a photo of a real person who lived during the Holocaust. The entrance to the exhibit resembled a gas chamber door. At each floor we paused and read a page from the id card with a detailed description of the individual’s birth, life through World War II and his and her fate. It literally felt like we were there witnessing all these atrocities.
The museum left little to the imagination with displays of shoes and hair from Holocaust victims, description of the gas chamber’s methods, and a freight train like those used to carry Jews from Warsaw to the Treblinka death camp.
After walking through the permanent exhibit we made our way to the Museum of Remembrance where volunteers and members of Jewish community groups read the names of the men, women, and children killed in Auschwitz.
The male and female described in our identification cards did not survive. They were killed during the Holocaust.
It was a very somber and moving experience for us.