Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust pin

The Holocaust is a dark historical event that can be hard to comprehend for most people let alone kids. Some parents may find it easier to visit particular sites offering educational and interactive resources than talk about the events with their children. For families wishing to introduce their kids to the topic here are some suggested sites to explore.

 

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust sign

Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany

Dachau, Germany is the location of the first Nazi concentration camp created in 1933. Initially, the camp held political prisoners. Soon the camp also housed not only Jews but artists, intellectuals, members of the LGBT community, and even the physically and mentally disabled. Sadly many of the detainees were subjected to cruel medical experiments and torture too.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust path
A memorial was created for the prisoners in 1965 where visitors can visit some of the historic buildings in and around the camp. The landmark also offers access to its library and some special exhibits containing materials related to Dachau’s history.

Visitors should be aware that there is quite a bit of walking involved and that a typical tour can last anywhere between 2-4 hours.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust walk

Resistance Museu, Copenhagen

After the original museum closed due to an intense fire in 2013, the archive and artifacts of the Danish Resistance Museum moved from Denmark to Brede, North of Copenhagen. Nowadays, travelers can only visit these archives if they make an appointment ahead of time. Officials are hoping the new facility will open by the end of 2018.

When we visited in 2008, our kids had just read Lois Lowry’s Number of the Stars novel that described the plight of the Danish Jews, so they found the museum and its artifacts fascinating.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust window

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Located in central Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is where the fifteen-year-old novelist lived during the war. Today, the house stands as a preserved national icon visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust anne frank

 

The house acts as a biographical museum for Anne Frank, her family and those who also hid with them. The museum displays original maps, letters, and stories written by Anne and her family. Visitors can also see interviews with Anne’s father (the only member to survive) as they travel through the house.

Parents should know there are quite a few stairs to climb to get to the Franks’ hideaway. The tiny alcove can get quite crowded with visitors during certain times of the year.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust statue

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

The Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel is a living memorial to the Holocaust that safeguards the memory of the past and its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, Yad Vashem became the world center for documents, research, education, and commemoration of the Holocaust.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust stone

Today, Yad Vashem is a comprehensive primary source for those who wish to learn about the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Here, visitors can find a variety of original Holocaust-era documentation provided in English such as letters, diaries, and testimonies of survivors as well as photos.

Not to be missed is the outdoor garden. This place is dedicated to non-Jews like JanuszKorczakk who risked their lives to save kids and families during the Holocaust.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust forest

Pinkas Synagogue, Prague

Aaron Meshullam Horowitz built the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague in 1535. Originally a private establishment, the Pinkas Synagogue is covered with 77,000 names of perished Bohemian-Moravian Jews. It is Prague’s second oldest surviving synagogue, connected with the well known Horowitz family.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust bag
Exceptionally touching are the series of pictures drawn by children forced into concentration camps in Theresienstadt during lessons by painter Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. Before her deportation to Auschwitz, Dicker-Brandeis hid these drawings to ensure their survival, totaling 4,500 pictures.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust bench

Shoes on Danube, Budapest

Travelers to Budapest can view this great iron shoe memorial created by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer.
The site is dedicated to those who died by the hands of Arrow Cross, a concentration camp enforcer run by the locals. Here, the victims were taken to the edge of the river and ordered to remove their shoes before getting shot and tossed in the Danube.

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Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

The Washington DC Holocaust Museum holds a permanent exhibition that tells a narrative story of the Holocaust. At this museum, there are photos, film clips, historical artifacts and eye witness testimonies from this time. The museum also features numerous other exhibitions that change with time. These exhibits discuss how genocide happens and how to prevent it in the present and future.

Not to be missed is Daniel’s story. There’s also the thousands of shoes brought from Majdanek exhibits that create a powerful visual for visitors.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust museum

Photo Credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents to kids with autism should prepare their children for the visits ahead of time by watching age-appropriate movies and reading books.
  • Due to the popularity of the Anne Frank House, parents should prepare to stand in line for up to four hours before they can enter the museum.
  • Many of these locations feature extreme content that might not be appropriate for younger kids. Parents should use discretion before visiting.

Top Autism Friendly Travel Spots in Amsterdam

 

Top Ten Autism Friendly Travel Spots in Amsterdam canal

Filled with culture and beauty, Amsterdam is a city that engages the senses.
It is easily navigated and is, therefore, a favorite spot for tourists. There are many family friendly and autism friendly activities to be found while strolling through its streets. Below is a list of attractions that are sure to please all family members!

[Read more…]

Visiting Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Amsterdam

During our frequent visits to the different European and American cities, my son would often beg me to go and visit Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Frankly, though I wholeheartedly support going to explore most museums, this genre seemed like the ultimate tourist trap to me and as such, I refused to give in.

Although I continuously explained to him how unreasonably expensive it was, how kitschy it looked, and what a total waste of our precious travel time it would be to go, I would still get the occasional childish whine of “but why not..?”

One day I finally cracked. We were in Amsterdam, on a rainy day and had already seen everything I had set out to see; like the famous Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh and Modern museums along with Anna Frank’s home, and Rembrandt’s Studio.
We had extensively walked around the canals, visited the beautiful squares, and even wondered unknowingly through the Red Light Zone. Besides, I reasoned with myself–my kids had enough educational tourism, so let them have some fun.

Visiting Amsterdam's Madame Tussaud Wax Museum dalai lama

And that is how I ended up taking the boys to the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum for the afternoon alone, of course since my dear husband made it abundantly clear he was not wasting fifteen euros for the admission ticket

 

.Visiting Amsterdam's Madame Tussaud Wax Museum einstein

The Museum.

We walked in after I signed off thirty euros on my credit card slip(kids were 50% off) and entered a dark and crowded room that looked like it had been borrowed from a run-of-the-mill theme park. At this point, as my son was busy running from exhibit to exhibit, I was wondering, “why did I do this to myself?”
Visiting Amsterdam's Madame Tussaud Wax Museum bush
Luckily that dark Halloween-like room viewing lasted less than ten minutes, and we finally got to the real part of the museum-the wax figurines. And that was where my real surprise was about to be unveiled.

We leisurely went from exhibit to exhibit discussing all the famous people there.Right there, I later realized, was the best history lesson any kid, especially an autistic kid could get. Suddenly, the likes of Churchill, Lenin, Picasso, and Einstein were standing right there in front of us, almost ready to shake hands.

The boys commented on their height and speculated why Gandhi wore his famous austere sari while Elvis appeared in sequined suits. During those two hours in there, I managed to explain and cover more than a century’s worth of history in politics, art, music, and cinematography.

 All in all, it turned out to be a productive and highly entertaining afternoon for the three of us, while I learned to reconsider my biased opinion of tourist traps.

 

Autism Travel Tips.

  • The museum might be a bit crowded during peak hours, so it is recommended to call ahead and ask what time is best to arrive.
  • For kids scared of darkness and ghosts-skip that exhibit as it might be a bit frightening. 
  • Reiterate the rules to your kid as to what is or isn’t permitted including touching the exhibits.
  • Some of the exhibits may be PG13 so you might want to ask the staff that ones they are and decide whether they are or aren’t appropriate for your child..

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