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Madeline Hicks
Professor Wertz-Orbaugh
UWRT 1103
12 January 2016

My Knowledge of the Holocaust


I do not know much about the Holocaust, but I know the severity of it. I understand what
happened, who caused it, and what it resulted in. However I am ignorant of the most fascinating
components of the mass genocide. The questions I want answers to are: Why did this happen?
What caused Hitlers barbaric notions? What was it really like to be in the Holocaust? I want to
uncover the stories of the victims; I want a firsthand account of their lives. I want to put myself
in their position. Until then, I will not truly understand the Holocaust.
I was informed of the Holocaust very early on, in my late years of elementary school.
While learning what it was, my class was assigned to read the famous diary of Anne Frank.
Despite that being long ago, I still remember the details of her story. Being young, her story had
a big effect on me. I was around her age when I read it and I also kept a diary. Having things in
common with her made her story more relatable and real. Prior to reading her diary, I didnt
realize how scary the world could be. She opened my eyes to how quickly things could change
and how terribly they did for millions of other Jewish people like her.
I have also been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. a couple of times. It is
very informational and lifelike. As you walk in the door, you are handed a passport of an real
person that was in the Holocaust. There is information about their life and a picture of them in
the book. You are allowed to walk at your own pace through the museum. I have learned a good

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amount from walking through it. There are displays of practices used by the Nazis, mostly
tortures to eliminate the Jews. The most chilling exhibit in the museum is the shoe collection, a
huge pile of shoes belonging to the Jews who suffered through the Holocaust.
Anne Franks diary, a couple of class lessons, and the Holocaust Museum are the only
sources for the knowledge I have about the Holocaust. From these I know the very basics. I
know that about 6 million Jews were killed. I know that most were killed in gas chambers, a
painful death. Most were separated from their families. The healthy people were made to work
and the sick/elderly/infants were killed immediately. Rations were small and many people
starved. Work was hard and exhaustion could lead to death as well. I have seen many images of
people who looked like skeletons. Dead bodies laid on the ground, piled up high, waiting to be
burned. Many diseases were passed around and there was no help.
I dont know much about the Holocaust but I believe that I will learn a lot about it in this
class. I am looking forward to it, as the Holocaust has always piqued my interest. I want to learn
more about Hitler and his upbringing. I know that he wanted to be an artist, was denied twice
from the Fine Arts School of Vienna and was Austrian, but that is about all I know of him. I want
to know what made him who he was. I want to know more about the policemen involved in the
Holocaust, the Nazis. I want to know of their personal struggles through what must have been a
moral rollercoaster. Mostly, I want to learn about the lives of those who endured the brutal
circumstances and kept the will to live. I believe this will be an interesting class and I am excited
to expand my small knowledge of the Holocaust.