Holocaust Musem Made Me Appreciate What I Have


This past weekend, my lacrosse team traveled to Washington, D.C. for a game. While we were there we got the opportunity to visit some of the monuments, including the White House. The inside was not as big as I had imagined, which was a let down.

We also visited two museums:  the Air and Space Museum, which was pretty cool, but if I was younger I would have enjoyed it more. Yet the museum that we visited that I actually enjoyed was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I didn’t enjoy it in the sense that it made me happy.

It just makes your think. It’s something that gives you an appreciation for life.

Upon walking in I, wasn’t sure how it was going to work. They immediately hand you a card with a person on it. You open it up and read about them. Every floor you change the page, and the very last page is their fate.

My woman was named Maria. Close enough to mine to give me the chills.

The first part of her life we learned about was the “Remember the Children” aspect. It was a story about a boy named David. He suffered in Auschwitz.

We learned of the transition from when he was living in his family’s home with his parents. He kept a diary and his family owned their own business. As you walked through their home eventually, you walked through time.

You began to see what started to happen to David and his family through his diary entries and the images and representations of what had happened to them.

The Nazis destroyed his family’s business. He wore a star on his chest and never understood why it was him who had to go through this.

Eventually the Nazi’s came to take David and his family from his home. They didn’t tell him where they were going, but he already knew.

His mother and sister were taken and separated from David and his father. He never saw them again.

Later, he discovered they were both murdered.

He went to the concentration camp with his father. They were together for the most part. They shared a bunk together, and with eight other men. Their heads were shaved and they were given different numbers.

Their names no longer existed. He didn’t even recognize his own reflection in a puddle.

David watched as many of his friends died in front of him. He witnessed death every day he was there. Each one just as brutal.

When his father got sick, David would feed him his moldy bread. It wasn’t much, but he wanted his dad to become stronger to survive.

Eventually they were separated. They always separated the sick from the healthy.

David wasn’t really sure how but he survived Auschwitz. When he got out he searched for his father.They were reunited. Both surviving together.

But most weren’t that lucky.

There were other parts of the museum that showed just how huge this massacre was. There was a model of just one of the gas chambers there that was scaled down.

It made a football stadium seem miniscule.

Towards the exit, there was a loop playing of people now telling their story.

A woman was saying how she gave her daughter away to distant family friends in another country. She pretended to not love her. She thought it would make it easier on both of them.

When she finally said goodbye knowing it was for the last time, she didn’t kiss her or hug her. Just told her she was going for a weekend to visit their country. She never saw her again.

These stories and images just made me appreciate the life I live.

We all may not always get what we want. We all may get mad at aspects of our lives that don’t even really matter. We all may not even be happy at times. But there are people out there who have it so much worse.

People who suffered through unspeakable tragedies that just appreciate to see the sun every morning and be alive.

Maria, who I had learned about at the beginning, had her fate sealed already.

There was nothing I could do to change those words on the last page.

When I opened the final page and began reading I found that she had not survived. She was going back to her home to grab some belongings.

There was an evacuation occurring.

She was shot and killed.

Maybe I have a weird relationship with death, but I never believe people are really gone.

I believe they still live in the lessons that they teach you. In the spirit of people who knew them. In the fact that they can still bring joy and sadness.

Maria lives on with me now as well. Forever.