Holocaust Memorial Center

On Saturday, Chris and I were driving around to see what was close by our house–but places Chris hadn’t really explored because it was further west than our house (which is west of the city he grew up in).  As we were driving around, we saw the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.

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I was absolutely clueless this center was even here (and it was the first freestanding Holocaust Memorial Center in the USA)!  It was, of course, closed.  Being Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, that made sense.  So we noted their hours and decided we would go back the next day.  And we did.

Wow.  There really wasn’t anything in the museum that came as a shock or surprise to me, because I’ve read a lot on the Holocaust.  It’s a period of history that fascinates me.  I’ve often asked myself the question:  Why?  Why is this period of time so interesting to me?  I’m not big on all WWII history.  It’s not that I find the horrors and atrocities fun.  I do not.  In answering this question, I look to my first introduction to the Holocaust.  I was in sixth grade.  My teacher had me read The Diary of Anne Frank.  I was mesmerized by her writings.  I was saddened by her death, and the death of so many of her family members.  I was also inspired by the triumph of human spirit living in her very words.  And while I wouldn’t have phrased it that way in the sixth grade, I think that is what has drawn me to study the Holocaust.  I’m drawn to the triumph of the human spirit.  Suffering with bipolar disorder, I relate to suffering of any kind.  So many people died during the Holocaust…but what I’m drawn to are the stories of those who show me how to live during suffering, those who survive, those who triumph eventually. 

So I read, and I read.  I read about Anne Frank, Corrie TenBoom, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, Oskar Schlinder, and more. 

Since The Diary of Anne Frank, the Holocaust has been very real to me.  Encountering it as I did in this Memorial Center did not make it any more real–it already was.  But it was powerful seeing so much in one place.  I plan to go back again.  There’s a lot of information there, and I know in the 2 hours we were there, I did not absorb it all.  Cameras weren’t allowed inside, so I couldn’t take pictures.  That seemed right, to me.  However, I did get some pictures of the Center off of their website:  Holocaust Memorial Center

This is what you see shortly after entering the Center.  They have this round room in which is a time-line of Jewish history, and parallels major world events.

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Next you can learn a lot about Jewish history:

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After that you encounter information about WWII, the rise of Hitler, and the rise of the Nazi party:

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From there, you explore the “Final Solution” as the Nazi’s called it:

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After that there is an exhibit on the Post-War, the fate of survivors many of which ended up in Displaced Persons camps, and the rise of the State of Israel:

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Finally, they have an Institute of the Righteous room, where they honour all those who saved, or tried to save at least one Jew. 

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What they have done is amazing!  I definitely think this is a must visit!  One day when Hannah Rose is old enough we’d like to take her there.  And if we’re blessed with any other children, when they are old enough we will take them as well. 

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1 Comment

  1. 18 March 2008 at 10:02 pm

    i too read about anne frank and corrie tenboom as a youngster.unfortunately i don’t recall much of either 😦 my reading memory sucks lately.

    my mothers side is jewish.


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