“That’s why our Museum is reaching out to millions worldwide, one by one, challenging each of us to act.”
Sara Bloomfield, Director of the Museum
WHAT YOU DO MATTERS:
Promoting the dignity of the individual, this Museum speaks to that issue more than any other institution in the world. The Holocaust teaches how easily hate can grow and incubate in a group environment.
The first thing the Hungarians did, they had a slogan. “Stinkin’ Jew.” Now you repeat this enough, often enough, in broad daylight, and more and more of them started feeling the same way. “Oh, the stinkin’ Jew!”
EMPOWERING PEOPLE WORLDWIDE TO CONFRONT HATE MATTERS:
Imagine Nazis with the internet, think of the power of that combination. Hate is sweeping across the internet, just like a virus, with the potential to infect millions of younger generations. Our propaganda initiative is helping young people become better, more informed consumers, of all the information and misinformation they are receiving every day single day.
MAKING TRUTH ACCESSIBLE MATTERS:
[60 MINUTES NEWS ANCHOR]:
You’re about to see for the first time, secrets of the Nazi Holocaust that have been hidden away for more than 60 years. The International Tracing Service (ITS), as its known, was set up after the war to trace lost family members.
As Holocaust denial began rising, the fact that the ITS had been closed for 60 years became simply intolerable. And it was our years of working with governments throughout Europe that gave us the access and the partnerships that enabled us lead this unprecedented negotiation.
We have received about 138 million digital images. I’ve seen people learn what happen to fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins. I’ve seen people learn the truth when they thought, for 65 years, something else.
When they showed me, I was speechless, I didn’t believe it, I thought I’m not here. I thought I’m somewhere in Heaven or Hell, I didn’t know what happened to me. I couldn’t believe it that the Germans were putting everything on paper.
Every time we open an archive, it is a dagger in the heart of Holocaust denial. We have brought together, so far, two groups of scholars from around the world to begin to explore the scholarly potential of the ITS. Our job is just beginning, not ending at all.
SHAPING HOLOCAUST EDUCATION NATIONWIDE MATTERS:
We are America’s Holocaust Memorial Museum; we belong to the people of this country. We must be in the nooks and crannies of this nation. We’re really concerned with creating quality Holocaust education in all of America’s schools.
We are in the business of supporting people who prepare the next generation of teachers. Our partnership with the Holocaust Museum enables us to find opportunities for these teacher-educators to use the Holocaust as a powerful teaching tool to teach so many things that are so important in today’s world. Lessons about what can happen when that tolerance and that acceptance of diversity erodes.
Well, the Holocaust happened because there was a profound breakdown in leadership. So one of the most important audiences the Museum is working with is our next generation of leaders.
The Secretary of the Navy, several years ago, said, “Everyone is going to go to the Holocaust Museum.” You learn history in our Museum but that not what you’re supposed to walk out the door with. You’re supposed to walk out the door with this permanently embedded in your mind.
Something the Holocaust Museum teaches that we’re sort of able to apply as military officers is this idea that we have responsibility to treat all people who fall under our responsibility with dignity and respect. I think some of the lessons I learned from the Holocaust Museum played in as my service as a platoon commander in Iraq. Because of how the insurgency operates and its sort of a faceless enemy in a lot of ways, its easy to become jaded and frustrated towards the average Iraqi, but such a reminder that human dignity it absolutely paramount.
STANDING UP TO PREVENT GENOCIDE MATTERS:
I am the child of a survivor; my father was from Poland, was in a number of ghettos, was in Auschwitz and was eventually liberated from Dachau. It is clear that we have not learned the lessons of the Holocaust well enough as evidenced by Bosnia, as evidenced by Rwanda, as evidenced by the Sudan. So we thought as a family, what do we do to take that very powerful lesson that we’re teaching in the permanent exhibit in this Museum and take it to the next level?
“… to act as if it is genocide, and do what people do when they are faced with genocide.”
“Being treated like we were garbage…”
“And I said, ‘Yes, we are going to stand –”
We wanted people to do things; to begin to become activists and actors against genocide inside our walls and to be able to continue that relationship beyond these walls. And that’s why we ask everyone to answer the question, “What will you do to help meet the challenge of genocide today?”
This institution has the ability to have an impact that I don’t believe, and we’ve never believed, any other institution in this country can have.
We get incredible numbers, close to 2 million people a year. That is a number that no public education, no human rights organization, no genocide activism group has coming to them already.
Had people taken action, had governments gotten involved, had bystanders turned into activists, the Holocaust would never have occurred.
That’s why our Museum is reaching out to millions worldwide, one by one, challenging each of us to act.
There’s a human and a historical story that’s unraveling in our time; we can be a part of it.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?