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Victoria, 3-10 to 8-10-2004
Throughout history there has been mad tyrannical leaders who have been determined to wipe out human life. Some have succeeded in wiping out nations of people. The most attacked group of people in all of history has been the Jewish people. Throughout the centuries, tyrants devoted their lives to ending the Jewish race. Many will say that one of the worst moments in history was when a German leader named Adolph Hitler made a quest to wipe out the Jewish people from the face of the earth. Although he was able to wipe out millions of the Jewish people in Europe during World War II, his quest ended in failure as the Jewish people survived and are still among us today. The Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia takes you what was a horrific time. As you walk through the museum, it gives you a glimpse of what many innocent Jewish people felt as they were severely tortured with some put to death. The Virginia Holocaust Museum truly tells the stories of a life of torture.
Now some of you are saying, “I must say that the Holocaust was a horrible time if not the most horrible time in history. How can a mad man simply kill innocent people just because he did not like them? I am glad that he failed to wipe them all out. As for the museum, well, I am happy to see that it was erected to remember these horrific acts. However, this is not a railroad museum. Therefore, I will wipe this museum from my list of places to see.”
This is true. The Virginia Holocaust Museum is not a railroad museum, but it is a museum that you should visit.
In the United States of America, there is a great love for the railroad. The railroad brought people from the ports of the American cities to the interior in this land. Many towns throughout the country were built around the railroad. To many Americans even today, the railroad is a great site to see.
If you were a Jewish person living in a Nazi occupied country in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the railroad… meant something that you wish you would never see.
The Nazi soldiers went through the villages rounding up the Jewish people. They raided the homes of Jewish families and the homes of people they suspected of hiding the Jewish people. Men, women and children were rounded up. They heard the toot of the whistle. The trains pulled up. The boxcars were opens. The Jewish people were shoved into the boxcars packing them very tight to a point where they could not move. The trains went to various concentration camps where the Jewish people were tortured and executed.
When you arrive at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, the first thing you will see is a boxcar next to the museum entrance. It is a real boxcar that was brought to the museum from Germany. This German ‘goods wagon’ was built in the 1920’s to transport goods across Germany, and it was used during World War II for the transport of the people to the concentration camps. This is just the beginning. When you enter the museum and walk into the theater, you will see a model of a train in a concentration camp. The floor of the museum is depiction of a railroad track giving you a feel of being in a boxcar on a train while heading to a concentration camp. Items on display includes rails used on the rail lines used to transport people to the camps. Once you pass through the camp, you end up in the Palace of Justice where you see a display of the trail of the Nazis. You then enter a memorial shrine remembering those who were brutally murdered.
Please be advised that the Virginia Holocaust Museum goes through great lengths to display the experience of a Nazi concentration camp. You will find many of the displays very disturbing.
The Virginia Holocaust Museum is located at 2000 Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia. It is a short drive from Interstates 64 and 95, and a short drive from downtown. Admission is free. (They gladly accept donations to keep the museum running for many generations to come.) Parking is available across the street from the museum. (Bus and recreational vehicle parking is available on nearby Dock Street.) The museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday and 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. You can go to https://www.vaholocaust.org/ to learn more about the museum and to check up on upcoming events.
This article first appeared on johncowgillstoriesoftherailroad.com
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