Student Reflections on Trip to the Holocaust Memorial MuseumPosted May. 5, 2011
On Sunday, April 3, over 50 students from Kent State University had the opportunity to experience the profoundly moving exhibits found at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In sharp contrast to theme of the day, it was also a time to appreciate the amazing beauty of the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Washington, D.C. To many, it was their first exposure to the harsh reality of the Holocaust. The Jewish Studies Program and the Hillel at Kent State University co-sponsored the trip which was partially underwritten by The Frances/Lillian Schermer Charitable Trust. Hillel and JSP plan to make this trip to the museum an annual event so that all those who are interested will have the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust.
After visiting the Holocaust Museum I realized that what I had learned in high school and hebrew school was not nearly enough to really understand everything. Of course I always knew the basics, but the museum took me to a new level of understanding. Instead of learning, I was feeling the experiences of suffering and despair within the victims. I felt like I learned more within those three hours in the museum than I ever learned in my life. The Holocaust Museum provided me with an unforgettable experience that assured me that anyone who has also gone through the museum will always remember to "never forget".
I feel truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the sponsored trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. April 3. I had taken a few classes during my undergraduate studies in history looking at various elements of the Holocaust; but being able to fill in the gaps in my studies by visiting the museum, including seeing the social artifacts of the Holocaust, and reading the stories of triumph and survival in the face of pure evil and hatred, made me truly appreciate the impact of the Holocaust on the human historical record. It was an incredibly moving, thought-provoking experience, and I am thankful to everyone who made the trip possible. I eagerly look forward to more opportunities of this nature, and encourage anyone else with a thirst for knowledge to take advantage of such opportunities in the future.
I was expecting my experience at the Holocaust Museum to be mostly an emotional experience, but instead what i took away was a new understanding of how the Holocaust developed.
Thank you so much to you and your team for the wonderful opportunity that you provided us with; the extremely well organized trip to the Holocaust Museum. Having done the class last summer, I thought my knowledge was fairly extensive on the subject. Walking around the exhibits and reading the individual stories not only brought it to life for me, but also made me realize that my familiarity with the subject is only on the surface. Also being able to listen to individual stories of survivors brings home in a startling way what these poor people suffered so unnecessarily.
It's very easy to be detached from the Holocaust because what we learn in class is so intangible and brief. But going to the museum and personally exploring the artifacts for several hours, closed off from the rest of the world, is different. Being able to see, read, hear, & touch things that piece together such an unthinkable event is an otherwise unattainable educational experience.