At least 12 million people were systematically slaughtered, guilty only of the heritage they were born into.
The Holocaust resulted in the death of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and prisoners of war.
The students from class 4370-800, History of the Holocaust, honored those victims, visiting the Holocaust Museum Houston in Houston on March 20. The class is led by Dr. Brenda Melendy.
The museum stands as a testament to those that lost their lives in Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945.
“It reminded you that the Holocaust was more than a large number. It was individuals,” said history major Sandra Grice.
The message presented immediately upon entering the museum is simple: Acceptance and tolerance.
The experience is designed to be more than a history lesson; it’s purpose is to stir emotion in the viewer and plant the seed of moral standards.
“I think the Holocaust is a very important part of human history. The fact that this museum and museums like it try to teach tolerance, and fight intolerance, which still plagues our society, is an important lesson to learn. It really is for anybody,” Melendy said. “I’ve brought students here quite a few times. It’s small enough to get a quick overview. It is a very concise and accurate depiction of the history of the Holocaust.”
A tour guide led the students through the tragedy of the Holocaust, using visuals such as pictures and artifacts.
“Our tour guide opened up with a story about a seven-year-old boy , the child lost his life to bullying because people could not accept him for whatever reason,” said history major Ashley Lopez. “Throughout the museum there are a lot of messages that say ‘life is good’ and ‘tolerance’. That is the core of the whole thing. not to just show the horrors that have happened in history. They are trying to explain the reasons why, and what could have been done to stop it.”
The students were navigated and told of the tragedies individuals faced during this dark period in history.
Many were stirred by the subtle message of benevolence that accompanied the complex tale that was the Holocaust.
“At first that message sounds like it was meant for a group of high school kids, , but honestly that message goes for anybody,” Lopez said.
The grey walls and exposed steel beams created a somber atmosphere that suited the content within the museum.
The bleak tour carries the viewer to it’s personal conclusion.
“Voices” is a short film that is played at the end of the tour and a first person account of the Holocaust from those that suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
“It was a long interview from the survivors. To see their anger and tears was real for me. It was an unfortunate truth that they remember everything,” said political science/history double major Jesus Garza.
As the tour came to end, students said they left with more than a history lesson.
One could not leave without carrying the lesson of kindness with them, they said.
The students also said the message was important and more than expected from the visit.
“We need to stop being so inward focused,” Grice said. “We focus too much on labels, but fact is they were mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. All people are the same. They are the same as us. They are human”.