Holocaust museum essay

Ghettos were city districts. Essay on Holocaust Museum Words 6 Pages. Fourth Floor The Nazi Assult 1.

White Rose Memorial Essay Contest – Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

The first exhibit that I experienced was a film on Hitlers' rise to power. It showed how he played on the fears of the people by using propaganda to promote himself to becoming Chancellor of Germany. Ever though he lost the election, Hindenburg on January 30, appointed Hitler Chancellor.

The next thing that caught my interest was a film on anti-Semitism. This film showed the roots for people's natural fear of the Jews from the times of Christianity through the middle ages and up to WWII. The more traditional type of exhibit they had was about how the Germans tried to separate Aryans from what they considered inferior races that did not deserve to exist. They tried to do this very …show more content….

The Germans used these to transport Jews from the Ghettos directly to the concentration camps. The doctors at the concentration camps would perform grotesque operations, and dissections on the bodies of Jews. And I remember one Jew, who had a severely disfigured skeleton, he was stabbed to death, and then the doctors proceeded to strip the flesh off of his bones, and preserve his skeleton for future study. Personal Response 1. The exhibit really helped me to put all of the pieces that I have learned over the years together. I thought that the archway would be the type of twisted thing that the Nazis would to further humiliate the Jews.

I stood in the boxcar for a couple of seconds, and I looked at the scuffed floor, where the paint was worn down to the wood, and I could really picture all of those people being crammed into the boxcar and sent to their deaths. As I watched the movie, I could not grasp that the things that I was seeing were real, especially the body parts just laying around. It made me feel sick to my stomach that stuff like that happened.

The museological results are almost schizophrenic. The building by Daniel Libeskind, with its twists and breaks and deliberately jarring internal passages, screams pain in deliberate and overly obvious allusion to the Holocaust. Yet the exhibition within the walls keeps straining to affirm harmony and forgiveness. Discordant historical facts seem only to get in the way: you have to watch brief films to get any historical background about serious problems in this long-term romance. And you are still left with only the vaguest notion of what Jews believed or how and why they survived.

After its historical narrative reaches the Enlightenment, the museum finally seems to breathe a sigh of relief as, abandoning any effort to explain matters of substance, it turns instead to recounting the ways in which Jews became central figures in German banking, commerce, journalism, and the arts: activities that along with other examples of Jewish achievement are no doubt regarded as of greater contemporary interest.

Visiting the Holocaust Museum: Washington DC

Becoming a celebration of ersatz tolerance and fake universalism, the museum, like too many of its American counterparts, suggests that Jewish identity is best realized through its shrinkage. Nor, I am sorry to report, is this an issue only within the Diaspora. In slightly different form, some of the same factors bedeviling Jewish museums elsewhere come into play at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, an institution as close to being a national museum as any in the Jewish state. As I noted early on, national museums are not meant to be modest or self-effacing.

Reflecting the vision of the nation that created them, they strive forthrightly to show how that nation thinks about itself and its place in the world, what it values, how it interprets its past. The Israel Museum adds another level of intricacy to this exercise because it is, like its nation, so young, and because the story it tells, like the story of the Jewish nation, is so old. This is still an extraordinary museum, but the recent changes are significant.

That story is directly related to the story both of the Jews as a people and of the other peoples who have lived in the land now called Israel. Think how strange a move this is for a museum that presumes, on the face of it, to be an advocate for the particular. But what emerges in these historical displays is an apparent effort to avoid any equally emphatic attention to the presence in the Land of the People and the Religion that endowed it with its significance—to avoid, in short, any taint of particularism. As it traces the paths of all nations through the Land, the museum seems positively uncomfortable with the claims of Israel and Jews: an approach especially obtrusive in a museum not just about the land but about the nation, the people, and the national religion.

It is difficult to imagine the Louvre or the British Museum assuming a comparably self-negating stance.

To be sure, the avoidance here has a history behind it. The particular is too particular. The Jew is too Jewish. The religion is too religious. The nation is too nationalistic. Why this unease and this wariness? Is there any realm immune from its doubts? Surely, I used to think, the Holocaust museum must be the exception, dedicated as it is to exploring the nature and the consequences of the Nazi evil that reached across all differences and variations and made Jewish identity the very center of its maleficent attention. Surely there is no equivocation about the Holocaust.

Well, surely there is. Let me offer one prime example: the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Every visitor to this museum, before gaining access to the galleries that tell the history of the Holocaust, must choose one of two doors through which to enter. Evidently, the guards at Auschwitz are not alone: we are all prejudiced. A white supremacist shoots Jews in Los Angeles. Walk a little farther and you come to a mock s-style diner where a television monitor broadcasts a staged news video about a drunken teenage driver injuring his date on prom night.

We are asked to vote for the party most responsible: the liquor-store owner who illegally sold the booze, the parents of the drunk driver, the teenager himself?

Are Holocaust Museums Unique?

The Museum of Tolerance is hardly alone. No Holocaust museum, it seems, can be complete without invoking other 20th-century genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, or Cambodia as proof that the supposed lessons of the Holocaust must be taught even more fervently than heretofore. There are two problems at work in these kinds of analogies.

First come Auschwitz and Darfur, then come Auschwitz and bullying.

In tandem, the two impulses wreak havoc with both history and moral clarity. Historians suggest that perhaps a half-million non-Jews perished in Nazi death camps, not five or six million. This was evident, too, at the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam. When I visited more than a decade ago, the sober tour through the notorious annex where the young diarist and her family hid from the Nazis led into a video-laden gallery chronicling nearly every contemporary social injustice that could be enumerated. As if in imitation, the Museum of Tolerance also recently mounted an exhibition about Anne Frank.

Thus is history distilled into tripe, horror into effervescent inanity. Out of the history of the Holocaust, the museum teases unconvincing homilies to the effect that the root cause of genocide is prejudice and intolerance—by now an international delusion. The impulse to tell the Holocaust story only in the context of such elaborate generalizations is also what has helped justify its inclusion in school curricula and win public financing for museums.

The history that emerges from all this is history stripped of distinctions: that is, no history at all. Actually, the deeper one looks at the Holocaust itself, the more unusual its historical circumstances become. This is a difference not just in degree but in kind. And how central is intolerance to genocide, anyway? Many people who consider themselves very tolerant are nonetheless blind to their own hatreds. There are even intolerant people who would find genocide unthinkable.

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Of course, I am dwelling on some of the most problematic examples of Holocaust museums. I could easily point out the contrasting virtues of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, where the horrors unfold with calm and precision—until they overwhelm—or the main exhibition at the extraordinary United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The Washington museum, more problematically, leads you from the history of the Holocaust, narrated and choreographed with such exquisite care as to take your breath away, into a series of changing exhibitions that mitigate the point with other examples of injustice, genocide, and, yes, intolerance.

The homiletical approach to the Holocaust has broken down almost all inhibitions about using the Holocaust as an analogy, even though the eagerness to analogize is a sure sign of mis use. To judge from recent history, moreover, the analogies with which we are bombarded, far from making genocide unthinkable, have helped make it seem commonplace. If my survey of Jewish museums and exhibitions has seemed a little intemperate, that is partly because I have largely omitted discussing permanent exhibitions that work, or temporary exhibitions that have created a lasting impact.

Nothing, it seems, will shatter their paltry view of Judaism, Jewish history, and Jewish public responsibility. As for those who insist on holding out for a more rooted and substantive view of Jewish identity, they will have to rely on the small handful of exceptions, or start to think about what it would be like to create a new Jewish museum in the first third of the 21st century. Register Now. The Problem with Jewish Museums Ours is an era of museums celebrating the identity of nearly every group and ethnicity. Edward Rothstein. The vision here is of modern Jewish history as a kind of apotheosis of popular U.

Daily Weekly. What was the basis of the profound sense of identity that energized the Jews and ensured their survival as a people? Meanwhile, the Museum did not stop operating. A dedicated staff continued to teach the lessons of the Holocaust—first through visits to schools and organizations and later through a temporary gallery space that was donated to the Museum until the new was completed. The Museum also introduced Education Trunks, complete with classroom sets of books and teaching materials, so that educators could continue to teach the Holocaust to their students.

The Museum features 4, square feet of permanent exhibit space and an additional 1, square feet of traveling exhibit space. EPHM, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in , was the first Holocaust museum to be established in Texas and is now currently one of only 13 free-standing Holocaust museums in the United States.


Visual Essay: Holocaust Memorials and Monuments

Today, the Museum continues its mission of educating the public about the Nazi Holocaust so that similar acts will not be repeated. Additionally, the Museum honors the 11 million people who perished in the Holocaust as well as the brave souls who survived. Each year, thousands of people visit the Museum.