Holocaust Memorials: 2005
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."
France and Denmark
The small village of Gurs (near Pau) holds a poignant memorial. In 1939, 30,000 Spaniards fleeing Franco's fascists were interned in a camp there. A few years later, it became the holding site for a similar number of German Jews, most of whom were shipped eastward to perish in the concentration camps. The cemetery, with about twelve hundred graves, has two sections. In one the names are Spanish; and from the dates on the headstones, you can tell that they died young. In the other, the names are German-Jewish; and most of them were older people who succumbed to the harsh conditions there.
In Copenhagen, the Frihedsmuseet (Resistance Museum) tells a far different story, that of the rescue of almost the entire Danish Jewish population by the Danes. The display includes very interesting and moving filmed interviews with both rescuers and some of those who were saved.
CA USA Sat 12/17/2005
Auschwitz 1 and 2
Auschwitz should be a side trip for everyone visiting Kracow. One can read about the painful history but to walk amoung the buildings makes the holocaust more real. A somber, thought provoking experience. Witnessing the youth groups praying next to the gas chambers,the flowers placed by still living relatives next to the photos of those who were murdered, and seeing where some gave their lives to save others makes one remember "never again". A visit can be a profound,life-altering experience. Take the extra time to travel to camp 2. I will never forget my visit nor what happened there.
Vancouver, BC Canada Wed 12/14/2005
I first visited Dachau in 1970. At that time the memorial was virtually undeveloped. The site was very bleak, stark, forbidding and tragically sad. I sobbed for hours while I was there and still get a lump in my throat remembering. I was 25 and the visit changed my life. I don't think epiphany would be too strong a word to describe my experience. I was quite the flower child when I went there. I known that pro-America rhetoric is not particularly welcome on this site, where many seem to be inordinately concerned about being identified as (Oh horrors)"AN AMERICAN". However, Dachau is one of many places (Normany also comes to mind) in Europe where a person can stand and listen to the voices of the victims of brutality say "Thank you for coming to help".
I return with my grown children several years ago. Even though I had told them many times how intense the experience would be, they were still deeply touched. The museum now contains so much information that what was intended to be a 1/2 day visit ended when the place closed up for the night.
Portland, or USA Mon 12/05/2005
I actually came across this site while doing a paper for my Philosophy class. In September my friend and I went to Munich. I love history and once I heard how close we were to Dachau it was an experience I really thought I should have. I honestly didn't know much about the history of it but that didn't stop the emotions. From the moment we saw the gates it was intense for me to think what happened behind them. We walked through heard the stories saw the grounds and although it took some slow breaths I held back the anger and frustration. I unfortunately was not able to handle the museum the photographs, the people it was to much I ran out sick. As I pulled myself together I cried. Here I am 25 years old and active military, I've been to Iraq I have seen things I didn't want to. The Dachau Camp broke me down but it is something I am glad I saw and can now understand. My mother says I broke down because I am female and crying is what we do but I think it is just because I am human so why doesn't so much of the world?
Originally from Fredericksburg, Va USA Sun 11/27/2005
Berlin's Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe
In a city with no shortage of WW2 Holocaust memorials, it's the newest, and arguably, most visible addition that's capturing many visitors' attention. The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe occupies a football-field-sized segment of the Berlin Wall's former "death strip," almost directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate, less than two blocks from the Reichstag (Parliament) Building. The Monument's huge site extends right up to the edge of the long-demolished Hitler-Chancellory garden in which Adolf's and Eva's charred remains were discovered by the Russian Army in May 1945. Compared by many to the ancient Jewish cemetary in Prague, the monument's above-ground portion consists of undulating rows of dominoe-like black concrete slabs laid out in a grid formed by crushed-stone paths on uneven ground. From the monument's center, it's like standing in a vast graveyard overflowing with uniformly dark, unmarked tombstones. But the site's most powerful impact is reserved for those who venture down into the underground "Visitors' Center" -- a cavernous, equally vast space whose carefully engineered chambers and exhibits reduce the whole story of the Holocaust down to the utmost personal, and as such, heartbreaking perspective. Regardless of your ethnic background or religious beliefs, a trip down into the monument's "Visitors' Center" will, if you let it, turn you into a wet rag quicker than you can say "Sachsenhausen."
Chicago, IL USA Fri 11/04/2005
Berlin Holocaust Memorials
Berlin has some wonderful sites. The newest memorial is just behind Brandenburg Gate. It is simply a area of concrete pillars. Walking through the paths it drowns out all sounds of the busy streets around it. A real sense of serenity. The Jewish Museum in Berlin is worth a trip too. The exhibit "Fallen Leaves" will definitely leave a lasting impression. The museum is down about 1500 meters from the section of the Berlin wall called "Topography of Terror"
Ottumwa, Iowa USA Tue 11/01/2005
Dutch Resistance Museum - Amsterdam
I studied abroad in Amsterdam in 2003 and was so glad my professor recommended to me the Dutch Resistance Museum (the Verzetsmuseum). I have yet to see a recommendation for this museum in a guidebook and would never had visited without the recommendation. This museum attested to the amazing actions the Dutch took against the Nazi forces. There are many many first-hand stories told with photos of people who became heros in hiding and rescuing Jews from the Nazis. The hour and a half I was able to spend there was not enough! My husband and I are planning a trip there together soon, and I will definately be sharing this museum with him! It is a shame that this museum gets overshadowed by other similar museums in The Netherlands. This great museum is southeast of Central Station, near the city zoo in the Plantage district.
Minneapolis, MN USA Fri 10/21/2005
The Imerial War Museum in London is amazing, also has a good holocaust memorial. I think the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. is a little better though.
ALbuquerque, NM USA Wed 10/19/2005
Re: Maximillian Kolbe, Auschwitz
Auschwitz is very easy to access from Krakow. Bus lines run several times a day from the main bus terminal and drop you off across the street from the camp. I understand that you can also take a train but do not know for sure.
Stevensville, MI USA Wed 10/05/2005
Corrie Ten Boom House--Haarlem, The Netherlands
The Corrie Ten Boom home in Haarlem, The Netherlands, is an amazing experience, no matter your personal religious beliefs. As many Back Door travellers have come to realize, it takes an element of "putting yourself in someone else's shoes" to be able to sit in this great home and realize that what went on here had to do with saving the lives of people. I imagine that at the time Jews were hiding out in this home, they didn't care the religious beliefs of the owners. It was truly a matter of life and death. Go, enjoy, and put your own beliefs aside. Been here four times, at four different points in my own life and journey, and have received and felt something different each time.
Portland, OR USA Sat 09/24/2005
Jewish Museum, Berlin
I found the Jewish Museum in Berlin to be well-designed and very emotionally moving. I went there in 2002, not too long after it had opened. I think what I saw was the permanent collection--upstairs we walked through several experiential areas--a "garden of disorientation" to simulate the feeling of being exiled to a foreign country, forboding and contemplative air shafts, etc. Then downstairs a thorough history of the 2000 years of the Jewish in Germany. I recommend it.
USA Thu 09/22/2005
RE- Corrie Ten Boom House- Haarlem, NL
My wife and I visited both the Anne Frank House and the Ten Boom House while in Europe last fall. The Anne Frank house was neat to see and impressive to walk through this well known site. Our dislike was everything was behind plexiglass, none of the original furniture was in place, and there were a lot of people there due to its popularity. On the other hand, the Ten Boom house gave you a chance to sit (on the original funiture) and talk one on one to the guide who had a great deal of historical knowledge about the Ten Boom's. The house is in near perfect condition. I knew little of what to expect here, and then being able to crawl into the space and through the little trap door in the closet was incredible, plus it made for a great photo op!
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 09/18/2005
Dachau - a memorable visit
I had the chance to visit Dachau with my family this summer. I am a WWII buff and have read a lot of books but nothing prepared me for the visit. Just being there you are able to visualize the horrors and a chill ran through my bones. Sadly, it also reminded me that we seem to have not learnt from this terrible tragedy- Bosnia and Rwanda still happened
Cupertino, CA USA Tue 09/06/2005
Ten Boom House
I must disagree with the previous post about the Ten Boom House. The house is run by volunteers who DO evangalize to any group who wants to come tour the house. Know this in advance and decide if you can handle it. I think it is even mentioned in Rick's book.
The Ten Booms created The Hiding Place BECAUSE of their faith and that is part of the point of the tour and the house. I did not find it overbearing at all-but I did know it was coming.
Read the book The Hiding Place or see the movie first to appreciate it.
Whether you agree with it or not the preaching lasts about 10 minutes and then you can see the house on your own and experience what this family was willing to die for. And did. You can even crawl inside the false wall and see what it was like.
I don't know if I would go back but it was worth seeing once for sure.
Billings, MT USA Tue 08/30/2005
Detour to get to Dachau
On Aug. 8, my wife and I just visited Munich to see Dachau. Ordinarily, to get there, you take the S2 train to Dachau station, then board a bus to the station. For some reason (probably rail construction), the S2 stops in Allach and goes no further. You must take a bus from the Allach station to the Dachau station, then take the normal local bus to the camp.
Houston, Texas USA Mon 08/08/2005
Hi Sidney, I'll be in Belgrade this October - do you have contact info for your American holocaust tour guide? Thanks.
Cary, NC USA Tue 07/26/2005
I just watched a show on the History channel called Rwanda: Do Scars Ever Fade? It's about the Genocide or ethnic cleansing which occurred in Rwanda. It's eerie how similar the methods used in Germany in Nazi era are to the methods used in Rwanda less than a decade ago. As sick as this sounds, the Nazi's were "kinder" in their methods compared to the Rwandans. Sadly, just as in WWII with the Jews, the United States had knowledge of the genocide and failed to intervene.
It's terrible to see the Holocaust being repeated.
NY, NY USA Tue 07/19/2005
New Holocaust Memorial
I just returned from Belgrade, Yugoslavia where I had a wonderful time. One of the tours I was offered was the Holocaust tour of Belgrade. (I highly recommend it, absolutely fascinating.) The tour was given by a Jewish mother and her daughter who both brought the events to life. What they consider the Holocaust is the bombings and killing by the Americans.
They showed me the bridges, hospitals and schools that American planes bombed and destroyed or what they call the Holocaust. This is the second time their family has endured "ethnic murders or ethnic cleansing. Talking to them gave me a completely different perspective on the Holocaust and from their point of view just how evil America is. While I may not agree with their point of view, I am now beginning to comprehend how they feel and what we did.
I would strongly recommend making a trip to Belgrade and taking the Holocaust tour.
Las Vegas, NV USA Tue 07/19/2005
corrie ten boom house-haarlem, the netherlands
Do not go here. We were closed into a room and evangelized to. Using the dead Jews of the holocaust as a magnet to entrap people is the ultimate, disgusting irony. One of the most unpleasant travel experiences I've ever had.
san leandro, ca USA Fri 07/08/2005
My book is a "Travel" guide. It is focused almost entirely on giving directions to the Holocaust Memorials. I include a few historical facts, but mostly it's about HOW TO GET THERE if you want to visit. There have been so many other books written about what happened during the war, that I didn't want to re-invent the wheel, so I kept focused on the aspect of a Travel Guide. I originally published it in 1999 but the edition now being shipped is the 2003 "Revised" Edition with updated websites, emails, etc. Hope this helps.
San Jose , CA USA Sun 06/26/2005
Re: Guidebook for visiting Concentration Camps
After watching the shows on the History Channel, visiting the Holocaust Museum in DC, and reading some of the new unclassified docs from the US and Soviets, I have come to the conclusion what I was taught in the US schools about the Holocaust is not accurate.
I have visited a couple of the camps, and find it odd to find what appear to be Jewish tour groups being told major incorrect facts or omitting crucial facts about the camps and the Nazi era. Of course maybe it doesn't mater.
But as I grow older and learn more, I'm finding I would like to know the truth. For example I learned Hitler Personally saw to safe passage of a Jewish family to the United States. Or that the Holocaust victims tattoos were "computer" numbers used by the IBM tabulators to track the victims.
Most of the diagrams of the camps leave out key information such as where the IBM computing equipment was located and how it was an integral process of the transport and cremation of the prisoners.
It's been almost 7 years since his book was published, and there has been a lot of new information released in the past couple of years. I'm wondering how accurate the information is now? Is there stuff about where IBM's computing equipment was located in any of the updates?
Thanks for your help. I'm just looking to learn more.
GA USA Sun 06/26/2005
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.
Please visit my Webpage for pictures and more information: http://www.ConcentrationCampGuide.com
A Must for anyone planning on visiting the Concentration Camps of Europe. Contains street maps showing exact directions to the sites, walking routes, road signs, bus and train information, opening hours and what remains of the camps today. Includes 45 Street Maps, Over 160 Pictures plus many useful websites. The guide covers 39 Sites in Poland, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, France and The Netherlands. I hope you will find this useful. We must NEVER FORGET. Thank you.
San Jose, CA USA Sat 06/25/2005
Holocaust Monuments in Stockholm and Paris
Holocaust Monument in Stockholm
In late 1993 my mother in law traveled to Poland in order to visit the graves of family member who died in Holocaust. The graves were no longer there. A caretaker of the cemetery suggested to buy a memorial plaques with engraved names. However, our family come to conclusion that family names should be in Stockholm to remember family and friends that were killed during the Holocaust but i a way came with Holocaust survivors to Sweden. My pure personal intrest changed into decision to errect Name Monument in Stockholm. Very quickly I found out that many families (including my own) had many relatives to commemorate. However, I wanted The Monument of Names to be a Holocaust Monument not just the place to mourn. Therefore, besides the names of over 6.000 relativesexterminated in the Holocaust the date and place of each person?s birth and death are listed. Family after family...
As my father Misha Wasserman worke for many yaers with dr. Janusz Korczak, I decided to add his name and Orphanage Children that perished with him in Treblinka to the Monument. They represent all the Jewish children exterminated in the Holocaust.
School children can easily find out that people which were born during a long time period in a.o Poland, Russia, Hungary, Italy, France, Spain, Tjeckoslovakia.. have often common place and date of death like Treblinka, Auschwitz or "unknown".
The names are listed in a book "Six Thousand of Six Million - A Requiem" ed. Romuald Wroblewski.
The Holocaust Memorial in Stockholm is placed in the downtown Stockholm, next to the main synagogue.
Last week I found some of the names listed on Stockholm Holocaust Monument on th Wall of Holocaust Monument in Paris. The names on the Monument in Paris are listed after the year of deportation. My French family is on different places on the wall starting in 1942 and ending in 1944.
Romuald Wr?blewski (Wasserman)
Stockholm, Sweden Sweden Tue 05/17/2005
Holocaust sites in France
Some of the sites commemorating the Holocaust in France are: the Museum of Resistance in Lyons and two out of the way villages in close proximity to Lyons- one is Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a village of Protestants,attributed to saving over 5,000 Jews and another village, Isieu, which has a large house where 45 Jewish children were hidden. Unfortunately, the children were betrayed and were arrested by the Gestapo. They were then transported to Auschwitz where they all perished. In Isieu, there is a poignant but also very informative memorial museum at the remote site in the mountains where they children lived until they were found on April 6, 1943.
Elizabeth Stafford Smith
El Paso, TX USA Mon 04/18/2005
Deportation Memorial in Paris
In Paris last week, after visiting Notre Dame, I went to the Deportation Memorial. It is located behind Notre Dame, at the very eastern tip of the Ile de la Cite. As the name explains, it is not Holocaust Memorial in the regular sense, i.e., a memorial to murdered Jews. It memorializes the French men and women who were deported by the Nazis, Jews and non-Jews alike. While the memorial itself was designed and erected during a time in French history, the 1960's, when the French were loathe to admit their anti-Semitism during WWII, it also serves as a powerful reminder that the Nazis discriminated against many other groups it deemed inferior: homosexuals, Jehovah's witnesses, the infirm, etc. It is definitely worth the time to visit, and given its physical, moral, and religious juxtaposition with Notre Dame, it is a very moving experience.
USA Thu 04/14/2005
The huge numbers associated with the Nazis' and Stalin's terrors are overwhelming. But in Berlin individual victims are remembered with small brass plates, about 4"square, set in the pavement outside where they lived. See: www.stolpersteine.com/
UK Sat 04/02/2005
the baby yar memorial is dedicated to the killing of seventy five thousand jews by the nazis during world war two. it is a poigniant reminder of how brutal the nazis could be.
minneapolis, mn USA Mon 03/14/2005
Otto Frank's Photos
While in Berlin last summer I saw a photo exhibit by Anne's father, along with he being sole survivor of the annex. Although an avid photographer of his family, once they went into hiding he put his camera away, as he only wanted to take pictures of happy times. Simultaneously shown in Amsterdam and New York, the exhibit commemorates what would have been Anne's 75th birthday. It was a unique and very personal look at a pre-WWII family.
CA USA Thu 03/10/2005
Imperial War Museum
Nothing beats the real thing (Auschwitz), but believe it or not, the Imperial War Museum has an impressive Holocaust display/memorial. If you can get to Auschwitz, please do, but if you find yourself in London with time to spare, check out the Imperial War Museum.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 01/21/2005
Re: the Memorial de la D?portation, mentioned in the previous post. One of the interesting things about this Memorial is that it is not a "Holocaust" memorial. That is, it is not a memorial to the Jews who were killed during the Holocaust but to the "deported." The mention that most, probably, of the deported were Jews was deliberately left out. This is typical of the period during which the Memorial was built -- a time when the French were reluctant to admit the degree to which the then French government (Vichy) collaborated in the Jewish deportations. Nevertheless, it is VERY powerful.
There is a memorial in Paris that is specifically a Holocaust memorial, the M?morial du Juif Inconnu (Memorial to the Unknown Jew) in the Marais, the former Jewish quarter of Paris, on rue Geoffroy l'Asnier, which I have never actually visited, so I don't know what it is like. The Museum of Jewish Art and History, in the Marais, is in an old building which in the 40's had mostly Jewish residents. Most of those residents were deported and died. The museum has a wall with the names of those people. It is very moving.
Lafayette, CA USA Mon 01/10/2005
Memorial of the Deportation
For those going to Paris, just behind of Nortre Dame, on the very eastern end of the Isle de Cite is the Memorial of the Deportation. We bought a candle and the guards lit it inside. It is quite austere, but powerful. Be sure to ask the guards for translations of the French on the walls.
Nazareth-Illit, Israel Fri 01/07/2005