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We have been taught that it is important to know history so that we can understand and learn from past mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future. Therefore, attending the Holocaust Museum should be mandatory because the museums unique interactive exhibits allows people to relive the inhumanity of the Holocaust and to have a hands on experience with the events leading to and ending World War II.
The Holocaust Museum did a remarkable job of involving the visitors during the tour. It was as if we turned back time and actually relived the whole ordeal as first hand witnesses. Throughout the tour there were many exhibits recreating the crucial events leading to the Holocaust, and reenactments of meetings leading to the final decision to begin the execution of the Jews. The museum exhibits clearly gave everyone a better understanding and feeling of the struggles that the Jews went through during the war. Through old documents and pictures displayed on exhibits throughout the tour, the visitors were showered with horrific and heroic information that you simply don’t get from textbooks or films.
The Hall of Testimony was an emotional exhibit where visitors watched films and listened to experiences of Jewish people who were involved in the concentration camps. The Hall of Testimony was a dark and gloomy room ironically representing a gas chamber. It gave people a sense of deeper understandment and fear of what was actually going on. It felt as if you were actually in a gas chamber waiting for your final hours of life. Watching dramatic videos of the Jewish people being stripped of their clothing and separated from their loved ones to enter the gas chambers became very emotional and hard to watch. It made everyone in the room both psychologically and physically aware of the actual sufferings that occurred during the Holocaust.
I don’t believe that I have ever been fully aware of the tragedies and sorrows that occurred during the Holocaust. Throughout many years of learning about the Holocaust in junior high, high school, and college, I still felt a sense of emptiness about the whole ordeal as I walked into the Museum of Tolerance. However, when I walked out of the museum I felt as if I was a new man. I began realizing how cruel the world can be and how much the people living in this world today can improve it by showing equality towards one another.
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Jewish People Concentration Camps Textbooks Inhumanity Ordeal Ending Tour Chamber Witnesses
I believe that the Museum of Tolerance makes people aware of the worlds tragedies and how people can improve so history doesn’t repeat itself. Involving the visitors during the tour of the Holocaust Museum enables us to get in the minds of the victims as if we were one of them. Then truly you begin to realize the pain and sorrows that they experienced during the Holocaust. Reading and familiarizing yourself about the Holocaust from textbooks will help you understand little bits about the actual war. However, I strongly recommend attending the Museum of Tolerance to gain a true sense of compassion that is not gained in the classroom.
Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust was initially intended to serve as a companion volume to the film, Genocide, recipient of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature of 1981. Selections from the script, written by Professor Martin Gilbert and Rabbi Marvin Hier, thus introduce the sections of the book. In addition, the first and last chapters are directed to exploring the Holocaust through film.
The book, however, stands on its own as a study of the critical issues of the Holocaust, many of which are raised in the film itself. It consists of specially commissioned articles, appearing for the first time, that survey the whole range of Holocaust scholarship. The essays are written by experts in the fields of European, American, and Jewish history, psychology, religion, and theology. While viewing the Holocaust as a unique event, we have attempted to show the context of Western and Jewish history. A number of essays trace the history and lifestyle of European Jews prior to 1939. Others consider aspects of modern Antisemitism. The book continues to explore the postwar aftermath of the destruction of European Jewish life, including an essay on the establishment of the State of Israel. Although not every topic could be covered (for example, the persecution of homosexuals, the physically and emotionally disabled, and Gypsies), we have attempted to address issues that are frequently ignored; for example: Sephardic Jews, spiritual and physical responses to the persecution, and the problems of rescue.
Numerous individuals have contributed to the successful completion of this project. We wish to thank Simon Wiesenthal; Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and the Board of Directors for their recognition that scholarship must always be the cornerstone of the Center's activities.
We are deeply grateful to Dr. Stuart Kelman, for his counsel and educational concerns; Ms. Shelly Usen, for her careful technical assistance in the preparation of the text; our friend and colleague Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who supported this work from its inception; Mr. Martin Mendelsohn, who saw to various legal considerations; and Mr. Seymour Rossel and his staff, for publishing and distributing this work. We thank Ms. Ruby Johnson for her assiduous and expert typing of the manuscript.
We could not have completed this book without the love, patience, and counsel of the following people. Daniel Landes would like to thank his wife, Sheryl Robbin; Alex Grobman would like to thank his wife, Marlene, and his sons Elon, Ranan, and Ari; Sybil Milton would like to thank Henry Friedlander.
DANIEL LANDES ALEX GROBMAN SYBIL MILTON
9th of Av,5742
July 29, 1982
Simon Wiesenthal Center-Museum of Tolerance Library & Archives
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