Oh my God, what a place! Upon entering the museum, I expected what one would generally expect from a holocaust museum, general facts, gruesome pictures,and a lot of anti-Semitic propaganda from the past, but this place was completely different. Now luckily, my brother is a police officer and got all of us in ahead of everyone else with his ID, but I believe the museum is free regardless, they just have you wait on line for some minutes while they hand out passes.
After receiving our passes, we headed over to the permanent exhibition area and were told to get passport looking ID cards before entering the elevator. There were two pamphlet holders on each side of the elevator lobby filled with male and female ID cards. The IDs contained information about a real person in the Holocaust; what they did before it and, if they died, how they died or how they were rescued. A small portrait came along in my passport of a little boy from Poland who was forced to wear a golden clothed star to identify that he was Jewish and how he and his family were gasses at the Belzec camp in 1942. An extremely sad story, but what makes it worse is that it is completely true and happened to millions of people. There was a sign inside the museum, "there weren’t six million murders, there was one murder six million times."
I don’t want to give too much away about this place, but it was intense and informative. I think we spent just about two hours inside walking through the exhibit, seeing recreations of the bunks were people slept in, the ovens that were used, the train cars used, and anything else you can think of. There was one part that had tons of human hair, because the Germans would cut the hair off and sell it in 40 pound bundles for different purposes. Also, the experiments done to people to see how different things would effect the German soldiers in different scenarios was unnerving. Well, the whole place is unnerving and it's shocking that this happened in the first place. One thing that I found especially interesting was that the Allied forces knew where Auschwitz Concentration Camp was but didn’t bomb it for fear that another, worse camp would open doing more long-term damage.
One of the greatest parts of this museum was the Darfur exhibit near the exit. Acknowledging that the situation in Darfur could, and most likely will, lead to a museum being setup in the same fashion of the Holocaust Museum, this exhibit is great. It opens up our eyes to the fact that we can make a stand now instead of seeing things in perfect 20/20 hindsight.
So, if you find yourself in or around D.C., please stop by the Holocaust Museum, it is totally worth it and I swear that you won’t regret it.