It's a crime! (Or a mystery…)

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2011 – Memories

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day*.

USHMM On 26 April 1993 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened to the public in Washington DC.   His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the first visitor.  A few weeks later, and in an exceptionally hot and humid summer, I was also a visitor.  So many wanted to visit that it was very hard to get a ticket that weekend.  I remember walking through the railway car exhibit at the museum, realising how little space these poor people had during transportation.  I remember walking down one aisle so thick with people that I could not really see the exhibits in the glass cases on either side.  Having read Chil Rajchman’s Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory last weekend, I now realise that these people had even less space than I had in that aisle that day.  And they couldn’t move.  And they stood like that for hours.

In his memoir, Rajchman turns a corner to encounter a pile of shoes from the dead.  A pile of shoes four stories high.  There is a sense that perhaps this was the moment when he realised the scale of the operation in which he found himself.  I remember turning a corner in the museum in 1993 and smelling shoes.  And then I saw the pile: shoes of every size.  From victims all.

I vowed that weekend to return to the museum and I will.  It may not be possible to understand, but it is always possible to learn.

Find the museum here and follow them on twitter here.

[Photograph above from Andy961’1 photostream on flickr.]

*Today is the first day of Holocaust Remembrance Week.


2 comments on “Holocaust Remembrance Day 2011 – Memories

  1. Minnie
    May 2, 2011

    How apposite, the shoes … and how terrible, too.
    Hadn’t heard of Chil Rajchman. You’ve probably already read Viktor Frankl, Primo Levi & Elie Wiesel; if not, they’re all highly recommended. You’re so right in intimating this horror should never be forgotten.

  2. crimeficreader
    May 2, 2011

    Thanks Minnie.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on May 1, 2011 by in Uncategorized.