Posted by: randommisfires | November 28, 2008

The Museum of Tolerance- R’s view

*I am just wiped out form all of the cooking and eating and post-holiday shopping. So, I invited R to guest post for me about what she took home from her Museum of Tolerance experience.

Museum of Tolerance

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. This museum is known as being a Holocaust museum but as you can gather from the name, it is also about learning to tolerate and accept everyone, regardless of race, class, religion, sexual orientation or anything else. The experience was truly eye opening and I hope that everyone was able to take something home with them from it.
The trip consisted of a three hour tour of the Museum. In the first part of our tour we were greeted by two doors. We were asked to pick one. Above each of the doors there was a word. One said Prejudiced and one said Unprejudiced. A few people began to walk towards the unprejudiced door. Our tour guide stopped them though.
‘We are actually all going to go through the Prejudiced door,’ she told us ‘The Unprejudiced door is always locked, because no one is completely unprejudiced.’
As I thought about her words I realized how true they were. I personally had and have prejudices even though I still choose to try and show love towards everyone. so I took my place and walked through the door with my group. We walked through several displays and interactive exhibits. A few things caught my attention. First of all, the sign that outlined how the path of hate could go. It started with hate talk which eventually could lead to hate crimes on as large of a scale as terrorism. That really made me think. Everything started with rude words, racial slurs, name calling, and other forms of hate talk either to peoples faces or behind their backs. I hear my friends say hateful things about people sometimes and I say those things as well sometimes although I try not to. Lately the talk has been geared towards homosexuals. while I myself have not participated in this or have tried not to it is very common among some friends. They call each other names like homo or fag as insults. Which leads into the next part of this exhibit that interested me. in one display the walls had different stories. The stories were about hate crimes. There were stories about Latino men being beaten and others being killed because of race. There were stories about people being killed because of religion. But the one that I noticed at this particular time was about a college student. His name was Matthew Sheperd. He was gay. Because of this he was hurt by very brutal and violent methods and was killed. This was during the 90’s when homosexuality was much less acceptable than it is today. But even now as I hear people talk hatefully about homosexuals I realize that’s where it all starts. I hope that my friends could take that home with them and understand that everyone should be treated kindly and with love no matter what.

the next part of the tour was the Holocaust exhibit. The first thing that happened when you got to it, is you received a card with a picture of a child and their name on it. They were actual children who had lived during the Holocaust. Everybody lined up anxious to start. Mine was a boy named Georges Kohn. The tour guide explained to us that there would be machines along the tour where we could slide our card and find out information about our child. We rushed over to the machines and waited our turn to slide our card. I learned that Georges was the youngest of four children and was a French-Jew. It showed a map of where he lived and had a short biography of his life before German occupation. When everyone was done we continued with the tour. As we walked through various rooms we learned of how Hitler came to power and the assault on Jews. Or should I say the assault on nearly anyone who was not Aryan. This included Slavs, Gypsies, Blacks, Homosexuals and many others. I watched videos and saw pictures and read about the horrific ways these people were treated and eventually killed. We learned about the medical experimentation on children and the various ways the people were killed from being shot to gas chambers. I won’t go into details but it was a very difficult thing to learn about. At the end of our tour we had to swipe our card one more time. They told us we would receive a print out about our child and learn whether they lived or died. I skimmed my paper and saw at the end where it said that Georges had been killed but let me start at the beginning of his story.
Georges father was director of the biggest hospital in France at the time. Due to this he was exempt from a lot of the restrictions placed upon Jews after German occupation. however in 1942 his 3 older siblings as well as his mother, grandmother and himself, were taken to the Auschwitz death camp. His sister Rose Marie and brother Phillipe managed to break the bars on the window and escape. However Georges was taken on to the death camp. On arrival he was separated from his grandmother, who was taken to the gas chambers. Georges was selected along with 20 other children for medical experimentation. The children were kept in warm barracks and fed. The staff sang them songs and played games with them to distract them. In November 1944 they were taken to the Neunengamme death camp in Hamburg, Germany. Shortly after there arrival, the children were injected with tuberculosis cultures that made them extremely ill. On April 20 1945 when British soldiers were less than 3 miles away the children were taken to a school and injected with morphine and killed.
While this is a sad story Georges fate was not the worst it could have been. 1.5 million children were killed in the Holocaust and many of them in more painful ways or after having worked themselves almost to death.

This really made me realize that we need to become more aware. We can’t let something happen on this scale again. We must not let history repeat itself this time but we need to learn from it. We need to learn everyday and spread awareness. All though the Holocaust is the most remembered genocide it is not the only one. There is still genocide going on in our world today. As people in Africa and The Middle East fight and try to kill off other people. But we can help by doing small things. The most important thing in my opinion is to be aware of the situation in the world and be accepting of peoples differences. Spread the awareness to your friends, donate to charities make sure people are educated. Act now. You can make a difference just by doing your part.

P.S. http://www.museumoftolerance.com/site/pp.asp?c=arLPK7PILqF&b=249685 << this is a link to a part of the museum of tolerance website. Here you can look through the stories of the Children who lived during this time and were affected by the Holocaust

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Responses

  1. I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work 🙂

  2. Having devoted almost three years researching the Holocaust for my novel, “Jacob’s Courage,” I have assimilated enough religious hatred for a lifetime. This has been made all the more real by the persecution and murder of my own family in the blazing fires of Nazi death camps. I tell myself, “It’s all a part of the past. It won’t happen again. Humankind is more mature, more tolerant. Societies are more peaceful. Killing over insignificant differences is over.” But, that’s not true, is it?

    Since the Nazi Holocaust, we have witnessed the holocausts of Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur. An English schoolteacher in a Muslim country was recently sentenced to flogging and imprisonment for allowing her students to name a teddy bear, “Mohammed.” People are still persecuted for religious, political and ethnic differences. In many countries, women are still persecuted solely because of their gender. Draconian religious laws create conditions in which people are treated little better than animals. Non-believers are routinely persecuted for being an “affront” to the predominant religion. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of history? Why do we continue to butcher people for being different?

    Sadly, we cannot help those who reject our assistance. If people believe that God wants them to despise and mistrust others because they do not share the same religion or ethic background, then our children will inherit a world filled with rejection and loathing. Perhaps one day, if we survive as a species, our progeny will succeed where we have failed.

    This is the message of my book, “Jacob’s Courage.” Governments do not have the right to kill people because they are religiously different. Love can overcome almost anything, including outdated ancestral dislike. We can discover value in those who are different. A better future awaits those who tolerate rather than mistrust. We are all humans. And we have a responsibility to our children. One need not accept in a literal manner ancient religious documents that tell us to hate. There is more to life than archaic detestation. We must learn to share our planet in peace and mutual respect.

    Jacob’s Courage chronicles the dazzling beauty of passionate love and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are brutally murdered. In 1939, seventeen-year-old Austrians Jacob Silverman and Rachael Goldberg were bright, talented, dazzlingly happy and deeply in love. But, because they were Jews, their families lost everything. The Nazis took away their jobs, their houses and apartments, their possessions and their money. They lost contact with loved ones. Finally, they lost their liberty. Jacob and Rachael “grew up” during the Holocaust. As teenagers, they survived the beatings, rapes, and murderous acts of the Nazis, enjoyed the physical and spiritual pleasure of being in love and were able to become husband and wife in the Theresienstadt camp. They escaped, joined the partisans and fought the Nazi enemy, before Jacob and his father were imprisoned in Auschwitz. In the end, only their love and their faith that God had a plan for them kept them alive.

    Jacob’s Courage (Mazo Publishers), is sold through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and many other fine bookstores. http://jacobscourage.wordpress.com/?page_id=3&preview=true.

  3. Very articulate, R. I’m a impressed by your maturity. Not just a museum but an experience.

    My husband can’t stand to watch films that have to do with the Holocaust. It bothers him to watch such cruelty. He asked what the point could be of continuing to making films on the subject. I told him because we STILL haven’t learned from it.

    Hatred, based on appearance, beliefs and other matters continues. As does ethnic cleansing, as R mentions above.

    My wish would be for everyone to have an experience like that of this museum and change a bit of themselves to be more tolerant. But that wish is naive, I know.

  4. I can’t believe that was written by a 16-year-old! Great job.

  5. She’s only 13. 🙂

  6. Of course… 16 years ago you were living in the Raintree Apts at BYU. 🙂

  7. Frightening how fast time goes, eh? Now I feel old.


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