those flames which consumed my faith forever. ~ Elie Wiesel

Many of you are aware that I spent last weekend in Washington D.C.  Much of our time was spent at the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum.

I teach 8th grade Language Arts.  Our primary research topic is World War II and the Holocaust.  So, a large portion of my lesson planning centers on this course of study.  The research project this year will have so much more meaning for me after visiting the museum.   I would like to share some of the experiences I had this weekend.

Because I was with a small group of teachers contained in a much larger group of donors, we got to visit areas and enjoy lectures that other museum attendees did not.

We listened to personal stories of several survivors that were life altering just to hear let alone live through as they did.  Nesse Goden made us laugh and cry as she told of living through the ghetto.  Margit Meissner related what circumstances caused her to end up at Fort Sill.

We saw photos taken at Auschwitz by Karl Höcker, an adjunct of the Kommandant Richard Baer.  These photos chronicled the time from May through December 1944.  They were so hard to see because we knew that at the same time these officers were celebrating at a retreat for a job well done, prisoners were starving and dying.

We toured the exhibit, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.
It was alarming to see the mass campaign that was launched to ensure that every individual heard the message that Hitler wanted them to hear.

On Sunday, we entered the museum an hour before the public.  If you’ve never been, there is nothing that can prepare you for the assault (for lack of a better word.)  By the time I left the permanent exhibit, I felt traumatized.  But I believe that’s how you should feel.  You should be appalled at the depths to which humans will go in the treatment of others.  You should be outraged, embarrassed, and raw.  The images I saw will forever be etched in my memory.

And I will never forget.