10 August 2013

Holocaust Centre - Cape Town

Firstly, I must admit to travelling for fun, relaxation, good food, great photos and exciting experiences. Being depressed by a travel experience does not fit into my equation as this does not result in a "feel good" moment. However, history shapes us, history teaches us valuable life lessons, which one hopes will always improve the quality of life on earth. So the bad and ugly have to be taken into account in order to give us all a better life.

Sadly, this is not always the case and it seems that sometimes human beings do not heed the past.

The local Holocaust Centre at the Jewish Museum in Cape Town was hosting an Anne Frank exhibition so we decided to educate ourselves on this era of distressful history. I think most people have heard of Anne Frank and have perhaps also read her diary, which was published in book form and has been translated into over 50 languages.

A quote from Anne's Frank says "Isn't it wonderful that none of us need wait a moment before starting to change the world" Profound words from a young girl who was subjected to such terror before dying of disease just days before the camps were liberated in 1945.

The Holocaust Centre is very well documented  but this really is not for the feint-hearted - it's very depressing to imagine what atrocities these Jewish people endured before being gassed or dying of disease or starvation. And yet, it also remains inspirational to listen to the stories spoken by survivors who went on to marry and have families. To me, that in itself, is an amazing feat and shows the strength of the human character to overcome extreme suffering, pain and humiliation.

So the story of the concentration camps under Hitler's rule is something we should all educate ourselves about as the tales are worse than one's worst nightmare.

The Museum is well laid out and there is a restaurant on site for those who still have their appetite after viewing the nightmare of the 2nd World War and Hitler's reign.

It is truly worth a visit, especially for us non-Jewish folk. For over 6 million people to be wiped out, for sole survivors to lose all their family members - what could be more devastating?

I cannot imagine.

© Judelle Drake

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