On Friday, January 31st, 2020 WHSAD students took a field trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Jewish Heritage Museum is a public museum with exhibits that display deep Jewish origins. The six-sided shape of the Core building and the six-tiered, slatted rooftop that rises 85 feet in the air show the events the six million Jews went through and who died in the Holocaust. Below are the things some students experienced while visiting the museum.
“On the trip, our guide explained many things that happened during the Holocaust, as we walked throughout the museum. During this time, the guide told us about something called “The Death March”. It was my first time hearing about it. The death march was when Nazi camps forced concentration camp prisoners to march from their camps all the way to Reich, letting them die along the way and killing them if they couldn’t walk anymore. Learning about this, I felt weird, to hear what happened to them then looking at disturbing pictures and videos of it. Trips like these are important to attend because just hearing them in class isn’t always enough to help us learn and understand them.. In class we might not always get the full picture, so going on trips based on the subject can help us learn, visualize ,and remember more about it.”
“The trip to the Jewish Heritage Museum was a lot to take in. It’s like thinking you know everything there is to possibly know about something, then realizing you don’t know anything at all. We learn about the Holocaust in school, hear stories of survivors, and see documentaries about it all the time, but I don’t think anything could really capture the true horror of the situation. I learned a lot. For example, that there was genocide of other ethnic groups besides the Jews, like the Romas. The museum did a great job of showing Jewish and Roma life before the Holocaust. I think this was very important as it reminds you that these were real living people with jobs, families, communities, and lives. This was my favorite exhibit because it reminds you that they were human. After the extreme lengths Nazis went to dehumanize these people, we can look back today and say “No”. We acknowledge that they were real people, we say that they mattered, and we celebrate their life.
Another thing I learned about was the exact methods of torture and execution used in these concentration camps. Sketches depicting emaciated humans grouped together with their heads bowed, a Jewish guard carrying the limp body of a child by the foot while dragging the dead body of a young woman only began to paint the picture. It was a gruesome sight, but that is how it is supposed to be. What I liked about the museum is how they did not sugar coat the conditions within these camps. It revealed the truth of the situation and helped me understand so much more. I understood the desperation fleeing German Jews, Polish Jews had as they escaped. I understood how real the Holocaust was which is why trips like these are so important.”
“I thought it was a very nice and educational trip. While on the trip we walked through the multiple exhibits at the museum that explained the life of those of Jewish heritage before, during, and after the Holocaust. When we got to the museum we dropped our belongings in a conference room that was dubbed `the classroom”, after that we then divided into two groups and were given a set of headphones connected to a radio that our tour guide spoke through. We then proceed to go on our hour and half tour through the museum to view artifacts ranging from household items to surgical equipment to the bunks and buildings that the victims slept and sadly died in.
I believe that it is important for students to attend trips like this because it helps them understand the topics that they’re learning in their classes and it is also important they learn about these things so that they grow to know about the existence of these events so they won’t repeat again in the near future or in the future at all. This was an unimaginable event that took place in our history and it was an evil one at that. There was a quote at the beginning of our tour and it says “ It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen and it can happen everywhere.” This was said by a survivor of this event and I am pretty sure that should have a heavy meaning to all.”
“The trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage was very intriguing and informational filled with history. During the trip I learned new things about what happened to the people who were discriminated against during that time. The main people who were discriminated against were the Jewish people. The people who were discriminated against were lied to about where they were sent so they would cooperate. They were told that they were going to be relocated to a new safe place but that wasn’t true.
The Jews would pack their luggage with items such as pots, pans, food, utensils, etc. They would be transported in trains filled up to 100 or more. It was said that they were tightly packed on the carts and the conditions on the trains were awful. They had nowhere to do their business and would be on the trains for a long period of time. The Jews on those carts would sometimes end up dying on the way to their new locations. The new locations they were sent to were concentration camps such as Auschwitz. In these camps they were treated horribly and lied to even more. The Jewish people were told that they were going to take showers, this however was a way for SS members (guards) to get them to enter the gas chambers. In the first image it shows a shoe and a sock that was outside of the chambers that belonged to a child who believed they were going to come out. The Jewish people were horribly treated, lied to and many more things. There’s a ton of things that made it horrible for the Jews to live there, such as the conditions were unsanitary. They were forced to pick up the corpses from the chambers just so they can hopefully be treated well. There’s many more things that took place during that time that were horrible.
Learning about these things did not really affect me being that I was aware of most of these things beforehand. I learned new things about how they were treated. I became more aware of the living conditions in the concentration camps and how much more terrible they were than I thought. I felt horrible hearing the things I did not know yet about what took place. They were lied to and they believed what they were told. It is horrible to hear this being that when they were lied to they were happy to hear things such as they’re being relocated to somewhere safe. The Jews were happy to hear that they could take showers at the camps but they didn’t know what was to come. This is something that may shock tons of people who aren’t aware of the situation that happened. I wasn’t affected much but people who don’t know of these things would most likely be affected by it. These kinds of trips are important for students to attend because they get information about what we’re going to learn or they get more information about what they have learned. It’s a great way to learn things about stuff that they may not know.”
“What I learned on this trip is that in World War I, Germany surrendered and it was very hard for the Germans to take in and they blamed it on the Jewish people. Hitler was antisemitic, meaning he had a deep hatred towards Jews. There was no clear explanation why he had so much hatred towards them, but he was introduced to antisemitic ideas at a very young age. When Hitler was handed power in the 1930s, he did everything in his power to try and get rid of all the Jews. During the Holocaust almost six million Jews were murdered. At the beginning of the war, tens of thousands of Polish Jews were forced out of their homes and neighborhoods and moved to the ghetto. When they were moved, widespread unemployment, poverty, hunger, and overpopulation began and diseases started to spread and get worse. After hundreds of thousands of Jews were transported to the ghettos, the Germans invaded them and gassed/murdered more than 500,000 Jews.
Learning about this subject affected me because seeing how poorly and cruel Jewish people were treated makes me have a different perspective on things. I have never had any negative thoughts towards them or anything like that, but it just makes me sad to know that Germans stereotyped Jews so badly and treated them like they were any less human than they were. In trips like these, I believe everyone should have a chance to attend because this can help change their perspective on things. They can see that not everything in life is a joke and that we should try and change this cruel world and not repeat history. For example, when there was talk about WW3, all everyone was doing was making jokes and memes about it. No one was thinking about the soldiers that might not make it back home or how many people could die or be affected by it. In this generation everyone thinks that everything is a joke and nothing drastic can happen when in reality if things don’t start changing then things are going to get worse and worse. We have to start changing our mindsets and start doing things the right way.”