Never forget the past: a trip to the Holocaust museum

John Shrestha
Staff Writer

A team of seven university students, a graduate assistant and a faculty made a day tour of United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Tuesday, April 16, just about a week after the National Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. They left Mankato early that morning before the sun left the horizon for more than an hour-long drive to the airport.

As they got on the plane, they were about to witness the past that we left behind. They were about to see the life that we never imagined. With some bag check and security, we finally were ready to meet another friend who will be joining us on the journey to witness the past and to learn something that we hope and wish we should not witness in future.  

They took a flight from MSP to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Virginia and at around 8 a.m., they landed there after an hour and 40 minutes of flight time. The whole plane was full of the national guard, Minneapolis Police and high school and university students who were excited and eagerly waiting to learn the past. As they landed, they were welcomed by the staff from the Jews Community. The weather there was so nice that you wish you never had booked a return ticket to Minnesota.

With a small bus drive from the airport to the museum, the reach the destination. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national institution which not only preserves the Holocaust but is also an open book for anyone who wants to study and document the history of Holocaust. 

The building had a three-floor plan designed by the architect James Ingo Freed. Born to a Jewish family in German, Freed himself fled to the United States as a refuge along with her sister, followed by their parent. The museum building and architecture reflect the war-time era buildings. With the collection of arts and historical originals and replicas, the museum has brought the past to lives.

The Hall of Remembrance, a Hexagonal space within the building is the official memorial to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. The hexagonal space includes lighting candles and eternal flame with quotes on the wall reflecting the saying about the Holocaust. 

We could barely imagine the pain they went from when millions were murdered in state-sponsored annihilation of Jews in Europe. It was not only about Jews but Gypsies, Poles, POWs and all of those who were victims of the Nazi’s plan. Millions more including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death.

The museum strives to broaden the knowledge of understanding the Holocaust through collecting and preserving material evidence, art and artifacts related to the Holocaust, the annual Holocaust commemorations known as Days of Remembrance, distribution of educational materials and teacher resources and a variety of public programming.  

“I remember reading the story of Anne Frank when I was a small kid. Back then I felt it was just a story but with time, I got to know more about our past and things that happened to a human living on another side of the world,” one of the MNSU students recalled. 

After all this up and down of emotions, they took a flight back to Minnesota. At the end of the day, it is our own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy to preserve them and prepare to not repeat the same mistake we did in the past. No human deserves this kind of cruelty. We should be kind to each other. I hope for peace all around the world. Peace be upon us and our future. “Aleichem Shalom”

Header photo by John Shrestha | MSU Reporter.

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