In 1941, one of the most immense atrocities had occurred in Nazi Germany against the Jewish population, known as the Holocaust. In Los Angeles lies the Museum of Tolerance working toward educating people from all over the world about the world's cruelty in such an authentic manner. The museum contains a Holocaust, Anne Frank, and Social Lab exhibit, and I had the honor to experience each one.
As soon as you enter the museum, you are taken to a short orientation where good-mannered workers are standing in front of each exhibit waiting to answer visitor questions. The museum is a multi-story building leading you to each exhibit through a spiral ramp. While you move down the ramp toward the Holocaust exhibit, the walls show picture frames of individual survivors listing the date and place of birth along with a quote of theirs. These many frames were a beautiful beginning to an emotional rollercoaster.
Once you enter the Holocaust exhibit, we are able to see the a direct translation of original letter Aldof Hitler wrote in 1919 displaying the birth of his hatred toward Jews, as well as his proposed solution. Each person then takes an ID card of a Jewish child alive during the Holocaust and we are able to follow their lives until the end of the exhibit where we then discover if they survived or not. Visitors are then led through an automated interactive, sound, and light guided experience. Before you enter, you are advised that while experiencing this exhibit, to try to fully experience the events as this exhibit will be the closest experience we will ever have in order to even try and fathom the horrid events of World War II. Throughout the interactive experience we are guided by automated historians. We are able to view life for Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust.
As the extermination of the Jews escalates, we are led to the Nazi's final and most effective solution in their goal to exterminates the Jews: the gas chambers. We walk through a tunnel that takes Children and Others or Able-Bodied. I cannot even imagine the dehumanization the Jewish felt. We are all led to a “chamber” with a seating area with multiple projectors on each side which depict the measures taken by the Germans to coerce Jews into the chambers. This video was genuinely heart-breaking and I hope our world will never see an all time low such as the Holocaust again. At the end of this experience, we are able to leave the exhibit where we honor the Americans for coming to the rescue. For the first time in my life, I felt proud of my country as our armies were able to relieve Jews one country at a time. Next to the Holocaust exhibit lies the social lab in which visitors are able to learn about different historical events as well as contemporary issues in todays society.
After this exhibit, I decided to travel back up the ramp in order to enter the Anne Frank exhibit. This area was one of the most painful to experience. As a visitor, through this exhibit you are able to build a personal relationship with Anne Frank as you read her personal letters and diaries while learning about her family. At the end of the exhibit, we are shown how her family was captured, tortured, and killed. Seeing as she was such an ordinary young girl, this was too terrible to even begin to comprehend.
My experience in this Museum is difficult to put into words. I am so incredibly grateful to be able to participate in such events; anyone in California should also go and experience this Museum first-hand. The only issue is that due to COVID-19, the museum is only open Thursday-Friday from 10:00am- 3:00pm and Sundays at 10:00am- 5:00pm. The details put into this museum created such an amazing yet terrifying experience that I will never forget. One day, I wish to come back to hear the stories of a survivor. If you want to experience this first hand, admission is between $12-16 and the address is 9786 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035.