Stories of History from the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC ...

It’s an emotionally tough museum to get through, but the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC is a must-see on my list. It tells the story of the Holocaust through artifacts, oral histories, exhibits, films and photographs, and is America’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during that time.

In the museum’s permanent exhibition, you’ll walk through an actual boxcar that carried Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp. It will send a shiver up and down your spine. The permanent exhibition covers three floors of the museum, and is a self-guided tour of the Holocaust. Allow a couple of hours to get through the entire exhibition.

Timed-entry passes are required for the permanent exhibition, timed every 15 minutes from 10 am - 3:45 pm. The passes are free, and available each day at pass desk of the museum, starting at 10 am. Passes are also available in advance online (small service fee applies).

If you don’t have tickets for the permanent exhibition, or perhaps only have a limited amount of time, there are still options at the Holocaust Museum.

• Daniel’s Story tells the history of the Holocaust from the perspective of the younger victims, the children. Next to Anne Frank, Daniel’s story has become the best known youngster from the Holocaust.
• Wexner Learning Center has lots of educational information, including maps and photographs. This area also has the Survivor’s Registry, a computerized database of Holocaust victims and survivors. On my visit, a friend that I was traveling with was able to trace some of her family members. As a group of friends stood around and watched her search, tears were in all of our eyes.

• The Hall of Remembrance and the Wall of Remembrance (Children’s Tile Wall) are memorials to the victims.

The Holocaust Museum is located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW (just south of the intersection of 14th Street & Independence Avenue SW), just about a block from the Washington Monument. It is open daily (except Yom Kippur and Christmas Day) from 10 am - 5 pm. The nearest Metro stations is Smithsonian.

While most of the monuments, memorials and museums along the National Mall reflect the best in man, the human spirit, and the triumph of good over evil, the Holocaust Museum depicts the opposite — the worst in mankind, and the systematic destruction of a civilized society. It’s not a pretty picture, but is a powerful experience that should not be missed.

Photo credit: wikimedia

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