I did not know that January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day when I visited The Museum of Tolerance last Sunday in Los Angeles. I was in LA to visit my daughter but the promise of southern California’s sunshine was only that for most of my five day stay. I had never heard of this museum but we had driven by it and were looking for something to do in the rain.

While I am not of Jewish descent I have always been interested in learning about the World War II era. I suppose I was interested because my parents had lived through that era and as I went through the Evanston, Illinois public school system many of my classmates were Jewish. I was aware of high holy days because some of my classmates were not present in school on those days. I had a friend whose grandmother had a tattoo on her arm and was traumatized every time  she heard a police siren. I don’t know why this story has stuck with me after all these years but it has made me think about what I would have done during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. Hearing that story made it real for me. I honestly don’t know what I would have done and I pray that I never find out. The Museum of Tolerance helped me think about that era as if I was a participant. It is important that we not only remember that era, but study it for the lessons it can teach us about how the decimation of six million Jewish people, homosexuals and other “unfavored” people can happen.

            My children did not love their history classes as I did. And, while I kept trying to tell them it was like reading a story, that idea never captured their imagination. I was frankly surprised that my 23-year-old was interested in going to the Museum. The experience started with a security guard stopping our vehicle. He asked us not to step out of the car and that he was going to search our vehicle and look underneath it. The search of our vehicle was the perfect introduction to the Museum. I felt as if my own security, albeit ever so brief had been threatened. For a moment I was frightened. He told me to pop the  rear hood open and I spent a few panicked moments trying to find the correct lever underneath the dash in our rental car. I didn’t know why I was scared and then I remembered that this museum was about intolerance and that current events in the Middle East continue to keep violence alive. Those threats unfortunately have never ceased.

I don’t think the car search was an intended part of the message of the Museum but the surprise of it and the momentary urgency I felt made the visit a memorable one. It is important to remember.


#Holocaust #Museum of Tolerance #acceptance

#Los Angeles

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