More than I expected, our schedule led to hard work and demanded physical strength. Therefore, Memorial Day was a great time for rest and deep contemplation. After a long time, I slept in and used the laundry room. Then, I saw a group message about plans to visit the Holocaust Museum. So, though late, I decided to join this group. When I was in this museum I met a Holocaust survivor and in a couple of minutes, I heard her story.
And then, like a pilgrim, I looked around the museum. I felt it was a different atmosphere, most people (of all ethnicities) kept silent and most people tried to see all the detailed materials of the museum. I was especially surprised by the materials in the museum: a place where we can see various vestiges of proof of Holocaust victims. It is very detailed and through these exhibitions, I can deeply sense their suffering and heartbreaking grief. I can’t find a way to express what I want to say legitimately. How can people behave so cruelly towards other people? This question lead to many other questions. I realized this museum tried to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and tried to never forget the meaning of this museum. I think that the many donors and supporters are trying to present their remembrance to us.
Personally, when I passed these museum exhibitions, I felt how the second World War was the source of a lot of tragic experiences for many people around the world. I think the Holocaust might not just be a Jewish experience. Before I visited this museum, I never thought deeply about the victims of the second World War. However, at this time, I realized we are also victims of the second World War. Also, I felt that we are required to establish a similar museum to this in Asia. The second World War must remind us that other ethnic groups experience similar events: in Korea, the Philippines, and China, many girls and women were forced to encounter comforting, as well as to participate in medical experiments. I think these historical events are pushed aside because these ethnic groups might not have hegemonic power or economic power.
The Holocaust Museum is a significant achievement and I really appreciate their efforts. I believe that through this museum, we are reminded of how war creates tragedy and how cruel humans can be to each other.
By considering this, I have thought of serious questions. Yes, I realize the suffering and hardships of the Jewish people. However, even though they went through this time of suffering, recently, the government of Israel is isolating another ethnic group: Palestinians. The Israeli government is building a wall to isolate the Palestinian people and did not make peace with them. I don’t understand this policy even though Israel has a unique historical context. I believe that many Jewish people disagree with the Israeli government’s policy regarding Palestine because they already have experienced being the victims of tragic events.
We are witnesses. Yes, we are God’s witnesses. Like they never forget their memories, we try to remember everything. As a witness, I witness Israel’s political policy and I try to remember that just as others are witnessing and remembering that.
Fortunately, as a witness, I saw real power in this immersion class. This power is not in a museum, in a huge building, and not in a weapon. I witnessed a woman who is a representative in Congress, Barbara Lee. Before we met her, my colleagues were excited. They dressed up, were true to their hearts, and were very nervous. At first, I didn’t understand their reactions. However, after we met her, I can understand why my colleagues were excited because of the way she tried to make eye contact. Even though she is busy, she never disregarded us and she even wanted to walk with us and she try to listen to our voices. I witnessed that. And I realized that real power is in the humble, the considerate, and the understanding.