D.C. Holocaust Museum Trip Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy '16

In my history classes growing up, teachers would often tell us the basic facts about the Holocaust. They'd tell us about how two-thirds of the European Jewish population was dead after all of those years of genocide. Teachers would talk to us about how Adolf Hitler was the man who spearheaded Germany into anti-Semitism. However, everything that we were taught about the Holocaust was just scratching the surface of how devastating this event truly was. Visiting the Holocaust Museum a few weeks ago made me realize this.

When we were on our way to Washington, I knew that the museum was going to be very informational and quite an emotional experience. However, once I got there, I realized that it was going to be a lot more intense that I originally thought. One of the first things that made me grasp how moving this trip was going to be was when we were given little booklets. Each leaflet had a picture of an individual and his/her description. When we got to a certain floor, we had to flip to the next page and read what that person went through. Doing this made you visualize what that particular person had to go through during the Holocaust.

As we made our way through the museum, each floor, picture, item and video helped paint the horrifying image of the Holocaust. When I saw the video about how Jews were experimented on, I was in shock that a group of individuals can do this to another human being. Seeing some of the paintings and drawings of children really moved me. I could imagine a little kid witnessing the violence of the Nazis but still being able to sit down and draw a picture of their family. Doing so shows how children can still see beauty in such an ugly world.

The exhibit from the Holocaust Museum that hit me the hardest was the room filled with shoes. There were all types of shoes: old ones, new ones, adult shoes and even baby shoes. What's so touching about this room is that the shoes are such a simple, yet very personal item.

Ultimately, my entire experience at the Holocaust Museum moved me in more ways than one. It was also an eye-opener. There are so many events and details about the Holocaust that some people might not know about if they didn't visit the museum. However, by finding out more about these devastating events, such as the Holocaust, people will become more knowledgeable and respectful. A famous quote says, "Knowledge is power". By knowing about what happened in the past, people can prevent such tragedies from occurring again.