Reflection On The Holocaust Museum

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Given that I have studied the Holocaust at the tertiary level and have a strong personal interest in this unique historical period, I found the field visit to the Holocaust memorial museum fascinating in a number of aspects. I have always been engrossed with personal stories of the Holocaust. In the media, recollections of the Holocaust tend to focus disproportionately on statistics by referring to the vast number of victims in terms of the number of causalities. Whilst this approach is initially useful towards grasping the immense scale of the Holocaust, an unacceptable abstraction of victims and perpetrators is a natural consequence of purely numerical analysis. To avoid this issue of detachment, it is imperative to explore the personal stories of those who experienced the Holocaust. As one German memorial artist said, ‘To think about six million victims is abstract, but to think about a murdered family is concrete’. The Holocaust museum did a brilliant job in this respect from the victims’ perspective. In particular, the exhibit showing hundreds of shoes from actual victims was especially powerful towards humanising the Holocaust. It was also fantastic that the museum displayed interviews with survivors on televisions throughout the museum, as this allowed the victims to define their own experiences. One of these interviews was with a man who told of his mother’s refusal to inform the Gestapo on the whereabouts of her Jewish associates; despite never seeing

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