Holocaust Memorials: 2004
There are many WWII & Holocaust memorials/sights in Europe (e.g. Dachau , Anne Frank's house). They provide travelers powerful opportunities to learn from the greatest horrors of the 20th century. Share your experiences and suggestions so others can heed the wish of the the victims of the holocaust.that we never forget.
Please Note: This topic was previously known as "Nazi Sights."
Auschwitz Concentration Camp
I visited Poland and used Rick Steves book Best of Eastern Europe it was great. I used Ricks recomendation of Marta Chmielowska in Krakow as a tour guide to visit Auschwitz. I and am still moved by what I saw... Marta was great a perfect #10....
Medford, Ma USA Fri 12/24/2004
Important Sites in Germany
I applaud all of those in this graffiti wall section who have toured Holocaust-related sights while in Europe. As a proud (yet non-observant) Jew, and as the grandson and nephew of Holocaust survivors, I have taken some time on my trips in Europe to explore Holocaust-related sights. I do this in honor of my grandparents and other relatives (some of whom did perish at the hands of the nazis) and in honor of ALL of those who perished and feel that all of you touring these important sights does so as well.
In Germany, where memories of nazi atrocities obviously resonate significantly, there are other Jewish sights of significance that travelers may find interesting and which serve as reminders that the nazis did NOT achieve their full goals. For instance, there are some fine Jewish museums including the striking Daniel Liebskind-designed Jewish Museum Berlin (Lindenstrasse 9-14, not far from the Checkpoint Charlie Museum at Friedrichstrasse 43-44) and the small, yet interesting Jewish Museum Munich (Reichenbachstr. 27, not terribly far from Old Town Hall, just beyond the Glockenspiel). Even the Imperial City Museum in Rothenburg ob de Tauber (Klosterhof 5 ? charming walled city, not be missed on any trip to Germany!) has a small, yet fascinating room of Judaic artifacts. And Austria has the educational Jewish Museum Vienna (on Trattnerhof 2/106- easy walk from the Stephansplatz), which also has a bookstore and caf?.
Fascinating synagogues in this region include the gold-domed Neue Synagogue in Berlin (28-30 Oranienburger Strasse), destroyed during WWII but restored to its original splendor during the 1990s, and the historic Stadttempel Synagogue in Vienna (on Seitenstettengasse, near Judengasse), the only temple in Vienna to survive Kristalnacht (night of broken glass).
I hope that visitors to these important sites will find them as enlightening as I have.
New York, NY USA Tue 12/21/2004
Berlin is currently working on an amazing memorial that will be located directly behind the new U.S. Embassy and 5 minutes walking from the Brandenburg Gate. It is a labyrinth of different sized and shaped pillars that is designed to make you feel completely lost and confused. I think it will be done in 2006? The pillars need to be covered with a sort of paint that will keep graffiti from sticking to it. It is wierd because the company making the paint was one of the main financial supporters of the Nazi's.
MD USA Sat 12/18/2004
I visited the Annefrankhuis in Amsterdam. It was a truly memorable experience. The house is open at 09:00 every day. I was the first person in the house the day I went, so I had some time alone in Anne Frank's house. Truly unique....words really cannot describe the place. Go and see it, you will never forget it.
Zeeland, MI USA Thu 12/16/2004
Dachau is splendid
While in germany last spring, I had the most wonderful oppurtunity to see Dachau KZ. The memorial to so many was truly awe inspring. The gate that so many walked through, "work sets free", and the barbed wire statue was enough to make even the most macho Texan reach for a tissue. I highly recommend seeing dachau. Even though it is not all intact as it once was, its one of the best things to see in southern Germany
Sapulpa, Ok USA Mon 12/13/2004
Topography of Terror
When in Berlin I was most impressed by the Topography of Terror and it still moves me to think about it. There are actually tapes in English that you can rent and follow along so you know the general history of the spot. We went to the Topography after seeing Checkpoint Charlie and I was moved more by the Topography than anything at Checkpoint Charlie. It is worth an afternoon!
Baltimore, MD USA Fri 12/10/2004
London -- Holocaust Exhibition
At the Imperial War Museum in London, there is a very informative and moving 2-storey exhibition devoted to the Holocaust. Free admission, not recommended for children under 14 or 16 (can't remember which). While the rest of the war museum was teeming with groups of school children, the Holocaust exhibition allowed you the solitude and quiet to reflect on the exhibitions. Many personal testimonies -- written, audio, and video really brought home the experience that these individuals and families endured.
Philadelphia, PA USA Mon 12/06/2004
Nazi Documentation Center
The Nazi Documentation Center in Nurnburg is very interesting. It is not really a museum in that there are very few artifacts on display. It is more an education center on the causes of the Nazi movement. However, it is housed in an artifact of the Nazi movement..the Congress Hall..and well worth a visit when you are in Nurnburg. We also walked to the Zeppelin Field and enjoyed the experience more than we were led to believe we would from Rick's book. It is a lovely walk next to a scenic lake, and the size of the Zepplelin Field and the Congress Hall truly impressed on our minds the enormity of Hitler's ego.
Federal Way, WA USA Tue 11/23/2004
There's a small Jewish ghetto in Venice that is worth seeing. It consists of a small square with a holocaust memorial, museum, temple, and some small shops. Unfortunately, even 60 years after WWII, the square has to be continually patrolled by police; Venice is the only city in Italy where we observed spray-painted swastikas.
Phoenix, AZ USA Tue 11/23/2004
Touring Oświęcim was quite an experience. I suggest anyone who is spending time around Krakow to partake in a journey to this horrific concentration camp for it is one that will leave you breathless.
Limerick, ME USA Tue 11/23/2004
Dachau, and Prague Jewish Quarter
I think both these memorials have perpetual value that cannot be downplayed as being simply "the past."The reality of seeing Dachau KZ hit me in a very concrete way - it made me feel what we are capable of as supposedly "evolved civilized modern" humans. This may be a dire indication of our collective future, given our general state of violence.
Prague - how much of Europe must have once looked this way, and how many Pre-WWII Jewish Quarters and Synagogues are now simply gone elsewhere in Europe. A vast component of European culture and life belonging to a remarkable people, simply ripped out and gone.It helps in understanding the terrible human cost of WWII to actually visit such places as these.
Toronto, ONT Canada Sat 10/16/2004
I agree that the deportation memorial in Paris is worth seeing since not many people go there you can often be the only one there which makes it evey more haunting
The entrance is at the tip of the le'lecitie behind and across the street from Notre Dame. The entrance is stairs that go down toward the river and is therefore hard to see I missed it the first time I was in Paris but made a point to find it the second time. I have not been to any concentration camps I want to and yet I am afraid my emotinal response will be so overwhealming I wouldn't know how to handle it .
There are memorials all over paris and other French Cities to the people who fought and died in various wars and although we did "liberate" occupied Europe we didn't do it alone and they had fought since 1939 and it took us until 1941 to enter the war and until 1944 to invade and another year to totally liberate. A lot of europeans lost their lives during WWII and proud as I am of being an american both in WWI and WWII we waited an awful long time after the wars started to enter So the germans were already weakening and worn out before we even got there Sure we Liberated them but they did an awful lot of sacrificing before we got there
Janice L. Killingbeck
Saginaw, MI USA Fri 10/15/2004
Mauthausen Concentration Camp
We were privileged to visit Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria last May. It just so happened that we were there during the celebration commemorating the 59th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Americans. It was a wreath-laying ceremony with each country's contingent walking in, laying their wreath, and then moving to the side. The United States contingent (which we were invited to join) was next-to-last, and as we moved forward, we were met with some demonstrators who were chanting in a language we could not identify until they changed to English and shouted "USA go home, USA go home." We ignored them and continued our slow progress, meeting with enthusiasm and applause as we moved through the crowds. Among the US group were a man who was a survivor of the camp and also one who was in the second tank of the liberating Americans 59 years before.
We must always remember what happened during that time. Attending a ceremony like the one we attended was a privilege and a chance for us to show that we do, indeed, remember!! We can only hope that those demonstrators remember that they are able to demonstrate because of those who fought and died during WWII.
We recommend a visit to Mauthausen if you are in the Vienna area.
Judy and Keith Kibbe
Knoxville, TN USA Thu 09/23/2004
In Paris in July our Paris Walks I'le de Cite walking tour also visited the Deportation Memorial located behind Notre Dame. It is a moving memorial to all French Jews, gypsys, homosexuals and other "undesirables" who were deported from Paris to the concentration camps during the Nazi occupation-some 160,000 people and only a small number returned.
I would highly recommend that it be included as part of any visit to Notre Dame and St Chappelle (just follow the signs or find it on the map). I am sure that it is missed by many which is a shame. I commend the Paris Walks guides for including it in their tour. It does close promptly at noon for lunch so be there at least 15 minutes before.
Hollywood, FL USA Tue 08/17/2004
The reader who said that there was need for 'sense of proportion' in regard to the NAZI exterminations didn't choose leave a way to be contacted. "proportion" indeed!
Perhaps that reader,like myself, hasn't been to any of the sites. 50 years ago I was stationed near Dachau and I have been back to Germany twice since but haven't felt a desire to go to any of the others.
Only now, trying to put it in words, do I say I felt as though this is sacred ground and didn't wish to visit. The history, pictures, displays would be of interest.
A comment on a previous reader's 'disappointing day at Dachau'. Some of the guards at Dachau may have been disappointed but what do you think about those interned there? And to bemoan the layout of the display as compared to another site ? And to find a way to be negative about having passed on a train near Dachau?
hapeville, ga USA Sat 08/07/2004
A sense of proportion??!
TO the reader who suggested we "need a sense of proportion" about the number of people killed by the Nazis vs. other groups of people, I find that remark very sad. While there have certainly been many acts of genocide throughout history, to try file them into rank or proportion as a measure of severity is to get one step closer to allowing it to happen again. If you want to get technical, the act of Nazi genocide toward the Jews especially was the culmination of generations of cultural anti-Semitism that adds countless destroyed lives to the body count. Luckily, we have the Nazi and Holocaust sights to visit as a telling reminder of what happens when society maintains a "sense of proportion" about people being carted away and exterminated.
San Francisco, CA USA Thu 08/05/2004
I spent a semester studying in Europe. I saw hundreds of beautiful and enlightening sights. Walking into Mathausen, however, stuck with me more than any castle or museum ever could. I found myself looking at the peaceful town that surrounds the camp. Wondering if these people had known what was going on in their literal backyards. One of the most moving things about the site are the monuments that several countries have erected to honor the victims. In this time of war it is vital to remember our past. You will not walk away from Mathausen entertained, you will walk away changed. Don't stay away. We owe it to those who died to remember them.
USA Wed 07/28/2004
The Nazis exterminated around 20 million persons, 6 million Jews and a lot of others. The communists in Russia and China alone exterminated several times that many. We really need a sense of proportion about this.
USA Sat 07/24/2004
Anne Frank House & Dachau
We went to Anne Frank's house and Dachau. Neither was on our Contiki tour, but we made time for them. I was saddened, angered and shocked at the intentional extermination of a race. This is a must see, even for the 20-30yr. old crowd. It so hard to imagine.
Corsicana, TX USA Fri 07/23/2004
On July 13th I toured Dachau with Radius Tours, their guide was an Englishman named Phill who knows quite abit about the events that occurred there.I only wish that I had had more time to view the exhibits in the main hall.Being short on time in Munich I was glad to have taken this tour.
o'side, ca USA Tue 07/20/2004
Forgive and Forget?
To Joanna Hodge of Bristol, UK: I agree with your comment that we should forgive past wrongdoings; however, we should never forget. History always repeats itself. If we forget the Holocaust happened, persecution of groups of people could happen again.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 07/17/2004
Disappointing Day at Dachau
Recently visited Dachau and we were mildly dissapointed. It was very spreadout and although the film gave a summary of the the historical background, the rest of the tour seemed atypically unstructured which lessed the impact. My reference is in relation to other sites like the small camp Vught in the south of the Netherlands, which is more concentrated and complete in a smaller area. We stayed in a hotel in Rohrmoos just 11 kilometers to the north and the following day we took the train into Munich. This provided an uncomfortable moment as we passed by Dachau on the railroad tracks. Another factor that took away from our visit was that in the movie theater, apparently earlier that day, 4 American girls had carved their names into the top of the bench seat in front of us. What could had stimulated those tiny minds to leave an autograph?
Penfield, NY USA Sat 07/10/2004
Confront the evil that men can do
These are places to confront our collective capacity for evil. A visit will forever change your life. The two that stand out are Auschwitz/Birkenau near Krakow, Poland, and the Imperial War Museum in London. Auschwitz is eery. Especially the rooms full of confiscated eyeglasses, personal effects, and hair. Read Elie Wiesel's "Night" or other accounts before a visit.
The Imperial War Museum has an immense exhibit on the Holocaust, detailing the history of anti-semitism in Europe. There is a very moving video of interviews with survivors that plays in each area as you walk through. I wa compelled to sit and watch the entire reel. The museum is free, and contains one of the best and most insightful military history collections in the world. It's a place to spend an entire day. I spent 2.5 hours in the holocaust exhibit alone.
USA Sat 07/10/2004
I visited Auschwitz in 1992, and it is not for the faint of heart. But it is well worth seeing, just to remember what evil can do.
Gaithersburg, MD USA Tue 07/06/2004
The Jewish Museum in Berlin--designed by Daniel Libeskind, who's now (nominally) in charge of the 9/11 memorial--is strikingly built and filled with amazing artifacts. It doesn't confine itself to the Holocaust, thankfully, but instead presents itself as a history of Jews in Germany from the Middle Ages to the present. I spent hours there wandering around (until they kicked me out for closing time), and it was by far the best Jewish Museum I had seen.
Berlin also has a memorial called Topography of Terror located in the former basement of an SS headquarters, and although all the exhibits are in German only, it's worth a look. The city's official Holocaust memorial hasn't been completely built yet, but it's huge and haunting, and if you stop by the construction site (near the Brandenburg Gate) you can see the progress.
USA Sun 07/04/2004
i think we should all try to forgive and forget. this planet is such a mess we dont need any war to top it all off. by the why i love u america!!!!
bristol, uk Mon 06/28/2004
In Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is of course an essential sight to see, but I'd like to suggest two others: the Deportation Memorial in the old Jewish quarter is in the remains of a theatre that was used as a holding area for Dutch Jews about to be deported. Very moving, with an interesting exhibit about the history of the Jewish community in Amsterdam.
Down the street is the Portuguese Synagogue, which miraculously survived the occupation and is still used for worship today. It is a testament to the long history of Jewish life in Amsterdam that was devastated by the Nazi occupation, but parts of which managed to survive.
Oakland, CA USA Sat 06/26/2004
The Jewish Cemetary in Prague
The Holocuast memorial at the Jewish Cemetary in Prague is one of the most moving memorials in Europe. Well, in my opinion at least. It is tasteful and reverent. I'd suggest checking it out if you are ever in Prague.
DFW, TX USA Sun 06/20/2004
Paris - M?morial des Martyrs de la D?portation
To my mind the best memorials of any sort are the simplest ones. In Paris the M?morial des Martyrs de la D?portation is just that. It is so inconspicuous that a person could easily pass it by without noticing it. But its very starkness is what makes it so moving.
It's right on the heart of a bustling tourist area, behind the Notre Dame Cathedral, and right on the river. No charge for admission.
Metro Cit?. RER Saint Michel-Notre Dame.
Edmonton, AB Canada Fri 06/11/2004
Babiy Yar in Kiev, Ukraine
Baby Yar in Kiev, Ukraine
The memorial to the Jewish Massacre (about 35 thousand Jews are supposedly were killed here)
Not Nazi zite but a kind of holocaust too - Chornobyl (open for tourists) and the nearby villages.
Kidv, UA Thu 06/10/2004
I would highly recommend visiting Mauthausen! It is a little out of the way but well worth the time. We took a train from Salzburg to St. Valentin and then to Mauthausen. It really was very easy. Once we arrived at the Mauthausen train station - we left our bags and the train station attendant called us a cab. It was well worth the cab fare (10 euro's each way). It would be a long and exausting walk.
I agree with all but one of Rick's comments. I would suggest staying at least 3 hours. The extra hour would allow more time to walk through the country monuments and tour the musuem.
Before you go into the museum buy the English book that Rick references. It will give detailed information about all of the pictures and artifacts in English. Everything in the Museum is written in German. You can purchase the book along with others in the bookstore which looks like a storage building before entering the camp. When you are walking up the road, you will see the camp entrance on the left - the bookstore is to the right. We toured the camp for 2 hours and the cab was there waiting, like we had asked, to return us to the train station. We then took the train to Melk, which we also enjoyed, and stayed the night in Melk.
WA USA Fri 05/28/2004
Munich - White Rose
Headed to Munich?
Be sure to visit the White Rose Memorial. The monument is not much to look at, the people and ideas for who it remembers is an incredible story.
What stunned me is President Busch after proposal for the TIPS program a few years ago. Where he wanted Government employees to report suspicious activity to the FBI for further investigation. I thought something like this could NEVER happen in the US, guess I was wrong.
CA USA Sat 05/22/2004
Concentration Camps book
I will be visiting Europe this summer and have been learning about the concentrations camps. After visiting the Holocaust museum in DC, I learned about IBM?s involvement in the Holocaust. I was shocked to learn the tattoos were actually computer identification numbers. I?m wondering if the book covers IBM involvement? And if any of the IBM sites are described.
LA, CA USA Fri 05/14/2004
Hello, my name is Marc Terrance, I have published a guidebook for travelers wishing to visit the Concentration Camps. I personally visited each of these places to document the travel directions. I also had the privilege of visiting with a Holocaust Survivors group. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. They were very excited about my project and welcomed me with warmth and friendship.
GUIDE BOOK: "Concentration Camps, A Traveler's Guide to World War II Sites" by Marc Terrance.
San Jose, CA USA Tue 05/04/2004
We are very pleased that you changed the emphasis of "Holocaust Memorials." The victims are the ones we need to be thinking about!
NJ USA Thu 04/22/2004