Friday, September 17, 2010

Holocaust Museum

Another day in DC. We took our usual bus and subway ride and started walking to the Holcaust Museum. On the way, we spotted a farmers market and decided to stop and take a look. We had gotten a late start(not unusual for us these days) and it was already lunch time. One of the stands was selling empanadas. I got a chicken one and Joe got a Jamaician beef. We walked over to the National Mall park area and sat on a bench to eat them while people watching. the empanadas were both delicious. A great find.

We found the Holocaust Museum.   The Museum was created for education as well as remembrance. Many of the issuses raised by the cataclysmic event continue to have an impact on our lives and the world we live in. There are four floors. We first went through the Permanent Exhibition.  It presents a narrative history using more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters that include historic film footage and eyewitness testimonies. The exhibition is divided into three parts: “Nazi Assault,” “Final Solution,” and “Last Chapter.” The narrative begins with images of death and destruction as witnessed by American soldiers during the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in 1945. Some of the artifacts include an actual train car where people were transported to the Concentration camps. There was one that was just a pile of shoes and another showing the clothes with the stars the Jews had to wear to idenify them. An exhibiton on Anne Frank  and her family's unsucessful struggle to hide from the Nazi's was another. The most moving was the film of actual survivors speaking of their experiences during the war. It was heartbreaking and I am sure I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes. We also toured a special exhibition titled State of Deception, the Power of Nazi Propaganda. It was a fascinating look at Hilter and his Nazi Party's masterful use of propaganda that transformed an extremist organization into the largest political party in democratic Germany. Propaganda as well as their use of violence helped the Nazi's win popular support and excluded Jews and others deemed to be outside the "national community". Others included social democratics, liberals, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, communists and the mental and physically handicapped. We ended up spending the whole afternoon there and were among the last ones to leave as it was closing for the day.
It was a sad and sobering experience but we are very glad that we were able to see it.

After this, we decided to have some dinner and reflect on how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the simple things of life. We ate at a restaurant called 701 which is right next to the Metro Station stop we have been using. We sat outside which is right on a square where we can look at and hear the sound of the fountain in the middle of the square and people watch. The food was great. I had Olive Oil Poached Halibut with
roasted acorn squash, maitake mushrooms puree, mezzuna, ancho pepita brittle and Joe had the Seared Scallops with bacon, chanterelles, local corn, leeks, sorrel. We even had a blueberry tart with buttermilk ice cream and some after dinner drinks. We then walked down to the subway and headed home. A most interesting day.
                                                     Square near 701 Restaurant      

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