Monday, July 24, 2017

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

June 17, 2017

It felt strange visiting a museum dedicated to an event that the US had little to do with - both because the Holocaust happened in Europe and because the US refused to accept Jewish refugees at the time. I entered the museum expecting to feel emotionally moved by the exhibits, but I kept getting distracted by the fact that the US has no real claim in this history and the pieces in the exhibit felt misplaced - wrong country, wrong place to have a memorial. To me, it feels a bit like if England opened a 9/11 memorial and turned it into a top researching center on American terrorism - a well intentioned idea that feels strange in some way, like it's not meant for that location because there's no connection.

Despite my mixed feelings on the memorial's existence in DC, I would still recommend a visit. The museum presents not only the history of the Holocaust, but also reasons as to how and why European citizens did nothing to stop the events and draws parallels to the xenophobic strains present in the US today. Instead of simply saying "never again" and then being surprised when they do, the museum warns against letting the little things slip and waiting until it is too late.

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