Holocaust Memorial Museum

Join us on Thursday, April 3,  from 9:30 to 4 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC for an all-day Archives Fair! Enter through the Special Events Entrance on 7th St. and Constitution Ave. The DC Caucus of MARAC and the National Archives Assembly are co-hosting this all-day Archives Fair. Archives-related groups and will be using the area outside the McGowan Theater as an exhibit hall.

You can watch our panel discussion online.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Coffee Hour and Exhibit Hall

9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and  Introduction by the Archivist of the United States

10:00-11:30  a.m. Panel Discussion: Crowdsourcing for Enhanced Archival Access

  • Elissa Frankle, moderator (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress)
  • Ching-Hsien Wang (Smithsonian)
  • Meredith Stewart (National Archives)

11:30-1 p.m. Lunch & Exhibit Hall

1-2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Monuments Men Archives

  • Barbara Aikens (Smithsonian)
  • Dr. Greg Bradsher (National Archives)
  • Maygene Daniels (National Gallery of Art Archives)

2:30-2:45  p.m.  Break and Exhibit Hall

2:45-3:15 p.m. National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC)

  • John Martinez (National Archives)
  • Jerry Simmons (National Archives)

3:15-3:45 p.m. Donations Partnership Database

  • Dawn Sherman (National Archives)
  • Meg Ryan (National Archives)

3:45-4 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Exhibit Hall

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the International Center for Photography (ICP) have teamed up to bring together four decades of work by an extraordinarily versatile and innovative photographer for the first time. Roman Vishniac (1897–1990) created the most widely recognized and reproduced photographic record of Jewish life in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars. Last week, they launched an online photo database that includes scans of Vishniac’s prints and negatives—in many cases published for the first time anywhere. To explore further please visit Roman Vishniac Rediscovered

source: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, ICP & smithsonianmag.com

These are the material things I got at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to say nothing of the spiritual and intellectual things I learned there.

The book is If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan, a book that has been greatly recommended to me. They had A LOT of other Holocaust fiction and historical books and films there, and it was just an A+ shop. (They even had books that deal with other genocides and themes on prejudice such as The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wicked, and others.)

The mug reads: The next time you witness hatred, the next time you see injustice, the next time you hear about genocide, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAW. It is, I believe, the museum’s mission statement, and damn good one at that.

Did I get an A?

April 2008

The magnificent marble jungle was worn with the fingerprints of those who mourn; haunted with the past it set out to remind us of.

Amassed around them was a sea of eager adolescents, some of them too preoccupied to care. Their teachers fought to keep them silent and respectful, for this was where the heroes slept. This was unusual for the commonly still Arlington National Cemetery.

May 2003

“You mean JFK is really here?”

“Yes! He is six feet below the eternal flame.”

I jumped on the balls of my feet, an expression of pure wonder on my face. My father – always the stern man with the ice-cold façade – was constantly frustrated by my endless pestering and slightly awkward personality.

Even at 11, the history bug had caught on quick, rapidly slithering its way into the small corners of my brain.

“Okay, so can we go see the Lincoln Memorial now, daddy?”

“I told you Devie-boo, we need to get to Greensboro by five o’clock!”

We never did get to see it.

Washington D.C.’s National Mall holds residence to some of the most respected and visited iconic memorials and monuments in the world. A strange mixture of sorrow and patriotism linger within the three kilometres of the cross-shaped Mall. Along the biggest stretch stands Capitol Hill to the east, with its regal white steps and superfluous power; the Washington Monument near the middle, with its twin swaying along the surface of the Reflecting Pool; and finally, on the west end, sitting in his granite throne, Abraham Lincoln guards over the fallen, and brings a daily reminder of his successful duties as one of the greatest presidents to have ever lived.

April 2008 

Two weeks before our high school trip to Washington, D.C., I had approached my grade 11 law teacher, Ms. Arthur, in hopes of getting to see the Lincoln Memorial.

“It’s not on the itinerary,” she said, “but I will make sure you get to see it. I promise.”

She was always my favourite teacher.

I remember the day vividly; Ms. Arthur had round up an impressive group of students – the small number of us who were truly there to learn – to walk down the great length of the National Mall, past the calmness of the Reflecting Pool and the hustle-and-bustle of the great war memorials.

The war memorials are littered along the Mall, with the National World War II Memorial perfectly centred directly at the end of the Reflecting Pool. The walls are curved widely, and do not interrupt the beautiful mirrored duplicate of the Washington Memorial. Along the north side of the Mall lies the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, which consists of three separate memorials.

The most remarkable I had the pleasure of seeing was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Nineteen stainless steel soldiers creep through the scattered trees and bushes, yet remain frozen in their place. Along the shiny black granite, the words “Freedom Is Not Free” lay forever engrained. It was the most lively, realistic war memorial I had ever seen.

At the very end of the Mall, tourists swarmed like ants around a temple-like marble structure. The day was slowly sinking into the horizon, the sun hitting the back walls of the temple, creating a picturesque silhouette for Mr. Lincoln. Surely, it never will get old for him.

I had heard about how big the memorial is, with its temple-like Greek columns and echo-y interiors, but always imagined I would meet my hero one-on-one. Unfortunately for me, so did every other tourist who visited the same day, and at the same time.

The next day was spent touring Smithsonian and other museums. The most powerful experience of our trip came from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were split into groups of five excited students and given identification cards that told a story of a child that was in the Holocaust. We would find out afterwards whether or not they survived.

We were told to enter the elevators, which would take us to the top of the building. As soon as the steel, bolted doors closed, the tables turned.  Smiles were wiped off of our faces. We found ourselves walking through rooms with reconstructed bunks and what looked like a shooting wall. During the final stretch of our tour, we ambled down a hallway filled with real shoes that had been removed from the real feet of Jews, from a real camp. Chicken wire was the only thing separating us from them, like standing before the line of freedom and captivity. Bins of jewellery – rings, watches, necklaces and bracelets – all old and worn lay almost dumped, as if forgotten.

At the end of our tour, a database could be used to find out if the child in our identification card rose to be a survivor or fell victim to the wrath of propaganda. The child on my card, Johanna “Hanne” Hirsch, survived.

Washington, D.C. is the perfect destination for the history-loving traveller. While American history is the focal point, many different attractions offer so many educational and eye-opening experiences. The biggest plus for the frugal family – places like the Smithsonian Museums and most monuments and memorials are free for all.

Just don’t let anybody stop you from paying Honest Abe a visit.

source: smithsonianmag.com / photo: The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum. (Hanan Isachar/Corbis)

Researchers are using new technology to keep Holocaust testimonies alive

As the years go by, more and more witnesses and victims of the Holocaust are dying, and with them go a set of powerful memories and accounts of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Preserving their stories has been a mission of many historians, curators and journalists. And now, one organization is trying to keep survivor testimonies alive in a new way: holograms. Read more

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Browse Bertghahn titles on the history of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies & relevant journal articles freely available through a special virtual issue

Hungarian Doctor Hid Jews as Nazis Scoured Budapest During Holocaust

Hungarian Doctor Hid Jews as Nazis Scoured Budapest During Holocaust

Maria Madi was a non-Jewish Hungarian doctor who kept a handwritten diary during the Holocaust as she hid two Jewish friends. (Family photo)

In December 1941, when Hungary severed relations with the United States during World War II, Maria Madi, a doctor in Budapest, started keeping a diary for her daughter, who had just immigrated to Louisiana.

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