I wish I had photos to show of the things we've seen, both in NYC and in DC, but so many of the places we've toured forbid any use of photography or cell phones.
It's such a hassle to drag around the camera when in crowded quarters and much of what I'd like to photo would probably get me in trouble anyway, so it's just as well it stays home.
While in the DC area we went to the Smithsonian and toured the Holocaust Museum. I'm at a total loss for words as to how to describe this, and that doesn't happen often.
The museum's decor is very stark and reflects the horror experienced by the many who perished during this awful blight on our history.
Being Jewish, I've probably already read and seen almost everything there is on this subject and I think that is what impressed me the most with this exhibit.
They don't soft soap the issue but they also don't go out of the way to get the in-your-face shock value that is so prevalent in our society. It's all done very tastefully; thed mood is somber and respectful.
The film footage of the Americans liberating the camps reminded me of stories told by my father-in-law, may his memory be for a blessing. He seldom spoke of his war years, but did talk once about the 82nd Airborn finding one of the camps.
The moment that immediately brought tears to my eyes was seeing the desecrated Torah scrolls on display. This is the ultimate symbol of our belief and so many brave people have died trying to protect them. It almost physically hurt to see them laying in a tangled pile.
Along the pathway of the exhibits you walk through one of the cattle cars that were used in transport and youcan smell the fear embedded in the walls. Being trapped inside one of these dark cars for days with no food, water or relief is unimaginable.
The most inspiring portion (in my humble opinion) was at the end where they run videos of Holocaust survivors telling their stories.
They spoke of horrific events and yet their underlying message was to never give up hope, that life was worth living no matter what the situation. I cannot imagine the ordeal of dealing with those memories.
My favorite story was of a man who asked his friend what he was doing. He replied that he was praying and praising G-d. The other man was dumbfounded that he could find anything to praise G-d for in this place. The man explained that he was thanking G-d for not having made him one of those people who were capable of doing this to another person.
It was an inspirational experience overall and I certainly recommend visiting it if you ever get the chance.
Long Live the Queen of No Words