As you may know, I’m a new docent at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. I recently gave my first medium size public tour. I was pretty nervous, but I think it went well. I had between ten and fifteen people.
The museum is divided into major sections and takes the visitor through the events in chronological order:
The World that Was
Rise to Nazism
The Beginning of the War and Ghettoization
Liberation and Post War Issues including Holocaust and Music
It seems crazy to try to explain the Holocaust in less than an hour. I kept encouraging my group to return with our complementary audio guides so they could get more detailed information. No matter what I point out, afterwards I always feel I missed something important. However, after the tour, I also thought, wow, I really have picked up where my “adopted grandfather” and mentor, Holocaust Survivor, Henry Oertelt, left off. He taught the lessons of the Holocaust by sharing his life story with schools, groups and all kinds of organizations in the Minnesota area for about 40 years. I hope he would be pleased.
One question that caught me off guard was: Was Hitler’s grandmother really Jewish? The museum’s answer: there is no proof of that, it’s still just a rumor. I thought it might be interesting to start to share some of the questions and answers that come up in my tour from now on.
Our museum is the oldest Holocaust museum in the U.S., however, we just opened a new permanent building last October. Typically a Holocaust Survivor speaks every day around 11am. We are located right in Pan Pacific Park near the Grove. Plan a trip soon!