Friday, November 16, 2012


Lee and I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was my first time and Lee's second.

Inside the Holocaust Museum

I was drained, shaken after going through the museum. It was powerful. It was horrifying. It was hopeful.

It wasn't until I saw the shoes and smelled the shoes that it became even more real. Those shoes belonged to men, women, children.

So many, many shoes

This poem, I Saw a Mountain, by Moishe Shulstein summed it up:

We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers,
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire.

The part that made me hopeful was the white wall that came after the shoes. On this free-standing wall were names of people who had helped and saved Jews during this horrible time. If you get a chance to read about Denmark and that country's efforts to save their citizens, please do! It is inspirational!

There was a paragraph on the wall near the end of the exhibit that has been on my mind. The gist of the writing was that despite all the people who did help the Jews at this time, there were so many others who didn't do anything as they watched their neighbors and friends get persecuted and taken away.

This quotation sums it up by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--
And there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller, a Protestant pastor

It makes you think...would I turn a blind eye or would I be a rescuer?


  1. That museum is such a powerful place. The shoes were what got me too- it made it all seem so (sur)real. I am so intrigued by WWII, and I think it's because of that last question- who would I be in a time like that? It's always good to do a little soul-searching!

  2. When I went to DC in high school, The Holocaust Museum was the first place I wanted to go. The shoes also struck me. The other thing that struck me was walking through one of the train carts. I could feel a presence.


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