A visit to the Virginia Holocaust Museum has been on my Virginia bucket list for years, and yet it ultimately took twenty-two years of living in Virginia before I finally found myself there. It's not exactly a visit that induces excitement like a theme park or a festival. But it was a visit I felt I needed to make and finally made time to do four weeks ago, accompanied by two of my sisters.
The Virginia Holocaust Museum
2000 E Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Monday through Friday: 10:00-5:00
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00-5:00
Free Admission. Free parking in attached lot between the building and the railroad tracks/canal walk.
|The potato-field bunker recreation. There was barely room|
for a grown adult to sit upright.
Throughout the entire museum, there are bits and pieces of original material from concentration camps or personal belongings from survivors - and victims. What differentiates this museum from, say, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. is that it focuses on the stories of survivors who ultimately settled in Richmond, which brings a very personal touch to an event which can sometimes appear distant in history books. You can't help but feel the anxiety of the Ipp family as you crawl through the recreated potato field bunker which housed thirteen people as they avoided being thrown into the Kovno Ghetto in Kaunas, Lithuania. You can feel the panic well up inside you as you enter the gas chambers labeled as an innocuous "Bath House." It's hard to hold back tears as you survey the Children's Remembrance Wall, which displays the artwork and poetry of children held in Terezin Concentration Camp outside of Prague. I had seen many of the original drawings when visiting the Jewish Quarter in Prague, but seeing the copies in Richmond further brought this atrocity home. I looked down at my thirteen year old sister and tried to imagine her enduring the Holocaust. I couldn't stomach the thought.
|Photos of civilians who risked their lives to save Jews and of the soldiers who liberated concentration camps.|
|It is easy to forget. Make a point to remember.|
Shaken, somber, and reflective, we stepped back into the sunlight of the sidewalk, vowing to never forget.
When you think upon the Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s, please be mindful of the genocide of people groups happening today. Christians are being slaughtered in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, and countless other countries simply for their religion.
Remember - evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
|Linking up with Chasing the Donkey, Pack Me To, A Southern Gypsy, The Fairytale Traveler, and Ice Cream & Permafrost for the #SundayTraveler!|