What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum? Do you think of the excruciating conditions in which Jewish people suffered? Do you think about Adolf Hitler and his massive plans and aspirations to dominate the universe?
What comes to mind for me is a beautiful landmark in Washington D.C. It holds valuable information about the ones who came before me. It holds challenging and important facts of our history. And it definitely deserves to be shared with children, as it is a part of their history as well. My opinion is that both African Americans and Jewish people have lived strikingly similar lives in that they both were conquered and brutally oppressed by dominant figures with power and resources.
During my visit to the Holocaust Museum, I noticed multiple similarities between the experiences of Jewish people during the Holocaust and African Americans during colonial slavery. For example, Hitler made it his goal to identify whether someone was Jewish based on physical appearance, like nose size and bone structure. Similarly, white people caricatured African Americans with physical traits like nappy hair and big lips.
Now that I have learned about the Holocaust, I wonder why my schools taught so much about the struggle of African Americans and so little about the struggles of Jewish people? The stories of both groups should be placed into middle school and high school curriculums because each suffered and deserves recognition for their bravery. Learning about other people’s history benefits the world because it increases our knowledge and it is how we make powerful connections.
On a more positive note, the Holocaust Museum does not only display the horrid conditions that Jewish people were forced to face, but it also shows the development of our nation. According to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum, as of June 2016, more than 40.2 million people have visited the Museum since it opened in April 1993. The fact that so many people take off from their personal lives to explore the exhibit shows that people want to learn about the past. In doing so, they must acknowledge the struggles faced by Jewish people (and others) during the Holocaust. Coming together as a collective shows that we are making peace with our past and that together we can make differences in the future.