Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My two sisters and I decided to drive up to Los Angeles and visit the Museum of Tolerance. None of us have ever been there before and had no idea what to expect.

I had seen this Museum in the movie Freedom Writers and ever since have been wanting to go. I'm really glad I did.

You are not allowed to take a camera in. Therefore, the pictures in this post have been taken off the Internet so you can get a little bit of an idea what it is like inside. I also scanned some things I brought home with me.

There are several areas of the Museum. The one that touched me the most was the Holocaust Exhibit.

As you enter into the exhibit you are given a card of a child who had been through the Holocaust. You can stick this card in machines along the tour and find out information about the child. At the end you will find out the outcome of that child.

The above picture is a scan of my card on Marga Frank. She was 7 years old and lived in a small German town close to the Dutch border.

The above photo shows one of the rooms in the exhibit where film clips are shown. Photos from the Holocaust are very hard to look at. Listening to the stories being told brings a heaviness to my heart.

It's so hard to believe the stories are real. How can anyone do the things that were done to these people? It makes me wonder if anything like this will ever happen again. I don't know. Just as I'm sure the people back then never expected anything like this would ever really happen to them, I don't expect anything like this would happen here in the USA. But, the truth is...we just don't know if it could or ever would.

This is another area where you listen to conversations that may have taken place as things were just starting to unfold. It takes place at an outdoor cafe in Berlin where people are discussing their concerns of the impending take over by the Nazi in Germany.

At the end of the conversation you hear what happened to each person. Some joined up with the Nazis, some were killed by the Nazi's for helping the Jewish people to hide or escape and one, who was a Doctor, did experiments on some of the people in the Concentration camps.

If you want to know the story of Marga Frank, my little girl, then click on the picture above to read the story.

After we finished that exhibit we went into this room and listened to two different Holocaust survivors. One was a lady and one was a man. Both were children when things first started to happen and were teenagers by the time they ended up in the camps.

The lady was taken from her Mother, sister and Aunt. She found out later that they were killed in the gas chambers. She told of being packed into trains with so many others that some could not even sit down as there was no room on the floor. They had to use a pot to go to the bathroom and it was over flowing by the time they got off the train, three days later.

She told how they were made to strip down naked and then have their heads shaved. They were given black and white striped clothes to wear and even though it would snow they had no jackets.

They would sleep 7-8 in a bed made of wood and were stacked three bunks high. Even though they had no room in the bed they were happy to be in there with so many others as it was the only way to keep warm.

They ate a slice of bread and rotten cheese for most meals. Sometimes, they would get a bowl of soup that had to be shared with 5 people. No spoons were given so they had to sip out of the bowl.

No bath or shower for months at a time and they never knew when they would be called to go to the building they could look at and see smoke coming out and had a stench that was burning flesh. They were forced to listen to the people over there screaming, as they died.

Let's not forget this is a child we are talking about having to endure all this.

Thankfully she was able to escape and shortly after doing so the war was over and the men and women were finally released from the camps and able to go home.

The man told of the suffering and torture he witnessed and about how they got a number tattooed on them. To the Nazi they were not human. They were just a number. Someone with worth less then a bug.

There is so much more I could tell you but I don't want this post to go on and on for days so I will just close with this...These were people, like you and me who didn't do anything wrong other then being born to the wrong family.

We like to think the Nazi were mean and evil people and were the cause to this whole ordeal. But the truth is they just started it. The good people didn't stand up to them to help out. Yes a few did but most just looked the other way. After all, it didn't really effect them.

Even today we hear about horror stories where crimes happen and people refuse to stand up and help for fear of getting hurt too. But what if you were the one who needed help. Wouldn't you hope someone, somewhere there would be a man or women brave enough to step in and say "Stop it!"

Yes, the Holocaust was many years ago. But what if something like this was going on in your own city. Would you just look the other way or would you be some one's hero and step up to help out? I like to think I would be the one to stand up, yet, I can't say for sure as I've never been faced with something this large and this scary.

If this post as done anything, I hope it makes everyone who read this stop and think. What would you do?



Barb said...

What a moving post Joanne.

Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit Anne Frank's house. I had tears running down my cheeks as I walked through. It was so hard to believe that someone around my age at that time, went through what she did. Multiply that by so many people and it is mind boggling.

I would like to think I would step up to the plate as well. Over the years I have spoken out on causes that my heart tells me are important. They have irritated some people from time to time but I said and did what I felt was important.

This has been a very thought provoking post. Thank you so much for sharing this.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC a few years ago and had a similar experience, Joanne. It was very sad.

Trisha said...

What a moving post, Joanne. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Janet said...

I went to the War Museum in Vienna a few years ago and it was very moving/scary and thought provoking. It is all too sad to think what humans can do to other humans.


Takin' time to smell the flowers! said...

Thank you for this. I have chills all over right now. Isn't it amazing that this wasn't that long ago. Recent enough that there are still survivors alive and speaking out today. It's so true that you just don't know what your reaction to these types of things would be unless you're faced with them. I believe that God bestows a surprising amount of great strength and courage in times of turmoil and survival. I only hope that I would use it and be brave through Him.

Anonymous said...

The sadness leaves me speechless..and angry. But the story must be retold.

Kristi Price said...

Thank you Joanne for sharing. One of my hero's is Corrie Ten Boom and her sister. I have watched the movie many times and it never gets any easier and alway's brings a flood of tears and a reminder to continue to pray for the Jewish people and their safety and that something so evil never happens again. I wonder would I have the courage Corrie and her sister had? I would hope that I would be strong. It still shocks me that 6 million jews were killed. :-( And for what? Because an evil man decided they were not good enough to live.

One thing that I just recently learned in the past few years is that there are many, many people in the middle east right now that don't believe the Holocaust happened and that the Jews made it all up. Many have been taught this since birth. This is truly scary and all the more reason I pray for Israel and her people every night.

You are a good storyteller Joanne. I alway's feel like I have learned something when I leave. Have a nice evening! Kristi

suzanne said...

HI , i hope you dont mind i made a mention of you and your wonderful orange cookies on my blog . I added a link to your blog as well. I made the cookies today and they are wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing that and glad to have met you.

Connie said...

That was a horrendous time in our history. Yes, it does make a difference if we are silent. I am NOT silent when it comes to defending the defenseless. I shall speak up with the voice of a million people to stop these things from happening again, but I don't think it will. The Lord will come before it does.

My heart weeps for that little girl in the picture and the little girl/woman who spoke to you that day. How sad to have had to endure all that she went through.


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Dear Joanne,
My Uncle fought in WW2 and was assigned to one of the concentration camps after the war was over. His job was to bury the Jews and others that were killed in the gas chambers in masses at the end, before troops got there. He said it was the greatest atrocity of man against man he would ever witness. He was given a new uniform every day, the old one being burned. They had to use dirt moving machinery to move the bodies. He said they were stacked like cords of wood. The victims were skin and bones. The stench was horrible. He didn't talk about it for years and years afterwards.
When he passed away a couple years ago at 96 we found photos of the concentration camp and the victims in a small folder next to his chair. I gave them to my eldest son to keep. It's proof of what a few men can do to a nation if no one speaks up.
After seeing those photos I would have to speak up. The cost could be great today but we cant turn our heads like that again.
Thank you for your post, it's excellent!
Big hugs, Sherry

Judy said...

Oh Joanne, what a beautiful and sad story. Thank you so much for posting this. Oh and by the way, I posted THE recipe.

Joyce's Journey said...

There are so many interesting blogs and I truly love to read what everyone feels on any particular day. I especially love, though, the posts that come from deep within. Sometimes it's hard to go there, but I really love thought-provoking messages. Thanks Joanne.

Shannon said...

I would love to go to this museum. I went to the Hollocost Memorial in DC and will never forget it. Thanks for this post.

I got my TV cabinet at Sams.

Cottagecheap said...

great post! Sadly, it IS happening NOW! Darfur! (Sp?) and other nations across the world.

I think we forget how EACH of us plays a part in making our world BETTER or WORSE.

Three cheers to you for making it BETTER today!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

It is hard to imagine such cruelty. I would give my life to stop that from happening today. Without a doubt in my mind.

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Thanks for posting on your visit! I have to agree with cottagecheap...since the Holocaust there have been genocides in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur that we know of. Makes me a little sick to be a human being.
If that were happening in this county...I am sure I would be among the first dead. I could not live knowing that was happening so near, while I did nothing.

Anne Fannie said...

Joanne, my heart is so heavy right now thinking of those people and what they went through as the whole world looked the other way. Even today some people claim it did not happen. I have tried to go to that Holocaust Museum twice and both times I had to be turned away because of a bomb scare. To this day, people still do not want this story told. It just sickens me to think something like this had happened. Your post was one of the best posts I have read.
Love, Ann

Wanita said...

Like you, I have trouble viewing/reading anything about the Holocaust. We don't know what the future holds for our country, but if we ever see these kinds of things happenening, I pray that Christians will have the strength to stand firm against such evil.

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

Joanne - thanks for sharing this post! We've heard of this museum, and since we might not be your way, it was nice hearing about it through your story. I would say that the Holocaust has to be the saddest moment in history. When we were in Boston last year we went through the Holocaust memorial there. As we went through and read the names and the quotes by people - we had to explain to our children - "why". What a hard thing to do and explain....but important for them to know.
Thanks dear!
Karla & Karrie too

Kim's Treasures said...

A very moving post Joanne!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Melissa Lester said...

I admire the survivors of this atrocity who were determined to create a better life. They showed resiliency and courage that surpasses what most of us will ever imagine.