Remembering the Holocaust

GM Students Visit the Holocaust Museum in DC.

GM Students Visit the Holocaust Museum in DC.

Owen Martin, Reporter

   On February 28, a group of high school students from General McLane took a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. According to the museum’s website, as of 2016 more than 40.2 million people have visited the museum since its opening in 1993, only 24% of those visitors being students. The trip was led by history teacher Charles Hager, who has chaperoned the one-day trip for the past four years. 

    Prior to their entrance of the museum, the group visited the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. The cost of the trip was taken care of by the Jewish Community Council of Erie County, however, students were encouraged to offer a $25 donation to the organization to ensure future trips. The departure of the students took place around 6 a.m. and their return was just before midnight. 

    The museum contains graphic exhibits.  Junior Jason Hahn had a few things to say about his experience on the trip. For Hahn, the scariest part was the exhibit for the infamous gas chambers, which contained an original door to the chambers now kept behind glass. Another notable exhibit Hahn witnessed was a box car that was used to transport Jewish prisoners to the concentration camps, which was his most memorable of all the exhibits. 

   There are also backstories to be read on each exhibit, and to Hahn the most memorable inscription was one that described how deceased Jews’ hair would be salvaged and sold for currency. Hahn 

also enjoyed speaking to a survivor who was a baby during World War 2. He said that the survivor told his father’s story, who’d luckily survived the Holocaust. 

   For senior Hope Robbins, the trip was eye-opening. “I’ve read several books and seen the movies that portrayed the gravity of the Holocaust, but seeing all of the exhibits and photos of the people who’s experienced it was an entirely different feeling. I don’t think anyone can truly prepare themselves for it.” Both Hahn and Robbins highly recommend the trip to students who are considering it for next year.

   There are many different things to see and learn about during the visit. The museum not only covers the actual events of the Holocaust, but also shows how other countries, espcecially America, reacted and were affected by the event. The museum offers a very shocking and eye opening experience to students who have never witnessed suffering like that of the Holocaust victims.