I recently paid a short visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I went several times when it first opened but haven’t been back in over a decade. I forgot how well done it is.
It is one of the most popular museums so plan to get there early before the crowds. In the summer months, there is always a long line to get through security. In the fall, I was able to walk right in at 10, but by the time I left, there was a short line for entry.
As you arrive you will be given a small booklet that gives a brief story of someone from the Holocaust. You then take an elevator to the 4th floor and follow the history of the Holocaust and the War from the mid-thirties. Plan 2-3 hours for your visit.
I like this museum more than others for two reasons.
- It gives a perspective of the entire Holocaust and War (European theater). Most museums or memorials focus on a single country, camp or event. It is completely understandable because that is usually where you are. But this museum has a larger perspective and scope.
- Their message goes beyond the Holocaust. The idea is to remember the past so we don’t forget it. And the end of the museum reminds us that we haven’t learned our lesson and we continue to ignore huge atrocities in Cambodia, Serbia, Rwanda, Sudan and Syria.
Of note, the museum has a wonderful book store and I wrote down several titles that I would like to read.