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.

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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.

Taking the Family to Munich Germany

Munich, on the banks of the Isar river and just north of the majestic Alps, is the capital of Bavaria. The city is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. Known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration , it is not only a fascinating destination in itself but can provide as a base for travelers wishing to explore Germany’s romantic road routes. For families that have not yet discovered the Bavarian gem, here are our top five spots to explore with kids.Taking the Family through Munich Germany above

 

The Olympiapark München and BMW Museum

The Olympiapark München was constructed for the 1972 summer Olympics. The park is now a venue for cultural, social and religious events, and visitors are always welcome. While at the park travelers can scurry over to the Olympic Tower and take the 190-meter climb to the observation deck. Then, they can enjoy lunch in the revolving restaurant.

Taking the Family through Munich Germany tree

The BMW Museum right next to the park is a car fanatic’s paradise. Visitors can get their kicks by gawking at the packed showrooms or by  joining the eighty minutes long guided tour. Kids can also design their own vehicle in the junior campus workshop as well as watch some Hollywood style motorbike stunts on selected dates.

 

The Englischer Garten, or English Garden, is one of the largest urban public parks in all of Europe. The garden stretches from center city to the North Eastern city limits. Apart from its comfortable bikeways and lake, the area boasts several “beer gardens.”

Taking the Family through Munich Germany bush

Travelers wishing to explore beyond the lake will find the Japanese Tea House. The teahouse was a gift presented to Bavaria from Soshitsu Sen during the 1972 summer Olympics. They will also find Monopteros, a small Greek-style temple. Finally, visitors can view the city skyline from the Chinese Tower, modeled after the Great Pagoda of the Royal Botanical Gardens in London.

Marienplatz (Mary’s Square)

Marienplatz is Munich’s main square and has been so since 1158. Initially, the Marienplatz held markets and tournaments for locals to come shop or  enjoy. The landmarks to see are Mary’s column and the Rathaus-Glockenspiel clock.

Taking the Family through Munich Germany carriage

The Mariensaule, or Mary’s Column, was erected in 1638 in celebration of the end of the Swedish occupation during the thirty-year war. A golden statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon tops the column, representing the queen of heaven. At each corner of the Mariensaule,stands a statue of a Putto or cherub as well as a statue of different beasts fighting, symbolizing  the overcoming adversities such as war, pestilence, hunger, and heresy.

The Rathaus-Glockenspiel is a clock made up of two towers. Every day at 11 am it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the sixteenth century. The top half presents the story of Duke Wilhelm the fifth’s marriage to Renata of Lorraine, the second half tells the story of the Schafflertanz (the Coopers dance). The Schafflertanz myth says that in 1517 (year of the plague) coopers danced in the streets to bring fresh and new vitality to the nervous locals. The Coopers’ dance came to symbolize perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times. The dance is now a tradition performed once every seven years; the next performance is to be held in 2019.

Taking the Family through Munich Germany plane

The Deutsches Museum

The Deutsches Museum is the world’s largest museum of science and technology. Oskar Von Miller founded the museum in 1903, designing it on an island. The name may suggest that the museum showcased German advances. However, in truth, the name expressed the importance of science and technology to the German people.

Once in the museum, travelers will discover wonders from all around the globe. The venue offers a plethora of interactive displays, live demonstrations, and experiments. The building is vast and has many different levels and fields to explore.

Taking the Family through Munich Germany building

Children will enjoy the Kids Kingdom Exhibition designed specifically for children ages three to eight. There are over 1,000 exhibits for the kids to touch, play, and learn from such as a power machine, wave-bouncing weir, building blocks, and even a giant guitar.

Nymphenburg Palace

Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, a prince-electoral couple, commissioned Nymphenburg Palace in 1664. It is a Baroque palace and the former summer home of the old rulers of Bavaria.

Taking the Family through Munich Germany top

This castle consists of a large villa with two wings of packed royal rooms decorated in the baroque style. Along with the Queen’s bedroom and King’s chamber, there is a unique gallery of portraits of girls commissioned by Bavaria’s King.

Kids and adults will love the Marstallmuseum Hall with royal coaches, which includes Ludwig II’s fairytale-like carriage fitted with oil lanterns. The manicured park behind the palace is perfect for antsy kids to run around, feed the swans, or picnic on the grass by the large lake.
Taking the Family through Munich Germany white

Dachau Concentration Camp

Established in 1933, this camp was Nazi Germany’s first concentration camp. Created to hold political prisoners, the camp later became a model for later concentration camps as a “school of violence” for the SS men. 200,000 people from all over Europe passed through its doors, and over 40,000 of them died there.

Taking the Family to Munich Germany gate

After its liberation, the government turned the camp into a memorial in 1965. The main exhibit holds the “path of prisoners” where visitors walk the victim’s path from coming to camp, their life in the camp, and their journey to either death or liberation.

Taking the Family to Munich Germany field

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The Deutsches Museum can get overwhelming, so it is best for parents to prioritize what they want to see.Parents need to be aware most signage is in German making it challenging for English speakers.
  • The Dachau Concentration Camp features intense content. It is also a place to pay respects. Parents should prepare children by informing them what this site means and how they should behave.
  • The Englischer Garden is the best place to take active kids.
  • Many of these attractions, such as the Olympiapark and Nymphenburg Palace, require a lot of walking. Parents should pack comfortable, closed toe shoes for the family.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany

 

 

 

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany pin

 

Germany’s capital, Berlin has a rich history and a checkered past. It is not only one of the most hauntingly beautiful cities in Europe but has become a modern travel hub and popular tourist destination. For families planning to visit; here are our favorite family-friendly spots in the city Berlin. Some are culture rich; others are great places to shop or relax.
Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany wall

Berlin Wall

The infamous Berlin Wall is a must-see historical site for anyone traveling to the city. The complete destruction of the wall in 1990 marked the official dawn of a new era;  the reunification of Germany. Nowadays, tourists can still see the last bits of the wall in the city’s Center which serve as reminders of German dark times.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany ground

Holocaust Memorial

Fashioned by Peter Eisenman of international fame, the Fields of Stelae represent the thousands of Jews slaughtered during the Holocaust. The solid black marble rectangles create a wave when viewed from within and provide visitors with a moving experience. Travelers should be advised the site can get muddy and slippery during the rainy season since it is all outdoors.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany building

Brandenburg Gate

This area is an old city gate on the west side of the city that led to a former Prussian palace. It is impressive and has become one of the most recognized landmarks in the city. The gate is the entry point to Unter De Linden; the boulevard of Linden trees. It is beautiful and spectacular, a real gem especially in the springtime.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany window

Checkpoint Charlie

This location, also known as Checkpoint C, was one of the main entry gates connecting West Berlin and East Berlin for over five decades. This point received its name from the Western Allies and became a symbol of the separation of Berlin during the Cold War. Today, it is a tourist attraction featured in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood.

 

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany charlie

Stasi Museum 

Part memorial and part research center, the Stasi aims to preserve and understand what East Germany stood for. Known by the locals as the secret police headquarters during the Cold War; the otherwise plain looking building opens a window into a fascinating world of spies. While visiting the venue, families can learn about the communist  German regime’s tactics to control its citizens through constant fear and terror.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany pillar

Berlin Tunnels

The three tunnels underground were part of a plan to build what the locals know as Germania during Hitler’s regime. During the Cold War, a few people did manage to use them to escape from the Eastern side to the democratic West successfully. Though the tunnels are closed to the public, private tours are available.
For travelers who are sensitive to smells or feel claustrophobic; the Bunker Museum is a  better way to experience the history of the tunnels without actually walking underground.

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Berlin Zoo

The oldest zoo in Germany and the most visited zoo in Europe, the Berlin Zoo is a wonder in itself. Featuring an aquarium on site and its scheduled animal feedings, the zoo is an educational and entertaining experience that has been wowing crowds for decades. On-site, cafes are available for light snacking or meals.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany red

Adlon Hotel

The epitome of luxury the impressive Adlon Hotel houses three fantastic restaurants, a lobby lounge, and luxury spa. Rumored to be Hitler’s home away from home the property’s well-appointed and luxurious accommodations do not disappoint.Families traveling during the holidays should check out the hotel’s Christmas elaborate decorations; particularly the lit up gingerbread house in the center of the lobby.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany arch

Christmas Market

As a shopper’s dream, the Christmas markets of Berlin will delight all members of the family. Travelers can find authentic old world wooden Christmas toys;  handblown glass ornaments and many other trinkets sold at the different stalls. Not to be missed are the special holiday foods to be sampled at the markets like mulled cider, sausages, and other tasty treats.

Family Friendly Activities in Berlin Germany christmas

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Many of these places offer guided tours which may be helpful since many signs are not in English.
  • The Holocaust Memorial is a site to pay respect. Parents should make sure children are respectful in this area.
  • The Christmas Market is an excellent place not only to stock up on souvenirs but a good opportunity to introduce kids to new delicacies.
  • Children who are claustrophobic or afraid of dark areas should probably not tour the Berlin Tunnels.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots on Germany’s Romantic Road


Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road pin

As a traveling family, we are always looking for new things to explore and activities to introduce to our kids.
While researching itineraries for a  summer road trip to Germany we discovered the Romantic Road. The Road  is a  220-mile route  that travelers can take between Würzburg and Füssen in Southern Germany, specifically in Bavaria and Baden-Württenmberg.

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The route was devised in the 1950’s by travel agents as a way to lure tourists back to Germany after World War II. The Romantic Road was originally a trade route in medieval times that connected the center of Germany with the South. There are many picturesque towns and castles along the way, and the road is thought of by many travelers to possess “quintessentially German” scenery and culture.

The Romantic Road runs through towns and cities such as Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
It can be a mini-adventure of itself of an at least 2-3 days road trip or can be divided into two long day trips out of Munich . Driving along these old country roads, viewing the historic sights, is delightful. After  exploring the Romantic Road on our last trip to Germany here are the top four spots we recommend for families.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road landscape

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber lies in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken. The town’s name translates to “Red Fortress above the Tauber” a fitting name as the city sits on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known for its well-preserved medieval old town as well as the Night Watchmen’s Tour. The tour takes place at night and you are led around the inner walls of the town by the guide wearing the full garb of a 14th century night guards, great fun for kids!  It’s fascinating to walk around, especially for those interested in medieval history.

Younger kids will be especially interested in the Doll and Toy Museum. Older kids might get a kick out of the medieval crime museum, where they describe the specific crimes and punishment of medieval times. Our son with autism couldn’t get enough of this museum and wanted to try out the chair in the top picture. There is also a German Christmas Museum with wooden toys and ornaments.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road trees

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle needs no introduction since most children know it as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. The castle is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace. The Neuschwanstein Castle is on top of a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the castle as a retreat and also to pay homage to Ludwig’s friend and composer Richard Wagner.

Ludwig II paid for the castle with his personal funds, not the Bavarian public funds, but alas was only able to spend eleven nights there before he died. The castle was immediately opened up to the public after Ludwig’s death in 1886 and has millions of visitors each year. The castle is so outstanding  to look at that it has been in several movie productions and served as inspiration for Walt Disney and his film Sleeping Beauty. A staggering 1.4 million people visit this every year, as one of the most famous attractions in the world.

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Linderhof Castle

Prince Ludwig built another castle not far from Neuschwanstein called Linderhof after falling in love with the area during his hunting trips in the Alps. The building cost a staggering amount of German Marcs in those days and almost bankrupt him. It was built as an homage to Versailles, France and some places in it are miniature copies of it. It even has its own hall of mirrors, like the original French palace. Some call it the little Versailles in the Alps.

The surrounding gardens of the palace are gorgeous with elements of the Baroque or Italian Renaissance. The outside landscaping and structures in the park are not to be missed, particularly if you are a Wagner fan, as they are a direct homage to the composer’s operas. The good news about this palace is that it is small, although the gardens are extensive.Try to get there in spring or summer, as the gardens are more spectacular in summer than in winter.

Ulm Münster Church

The Ulm Münster is rumored to be the tallest church in the entire world. It is a fine example of Gothic Church Architecture in Germany. You can see the steeple from miles away. It is a Lutheran church, and more of a cathedral because of the size. Furthermore,The church has become closely associated with the town of Ulm.

Standing at 530 feet, the Ulm Münster offers terrific panoramic views of Ulm. Visitors should be careful be careful as the passageway to the top is small and there is not a whole lot of wiggle room.
The Church makes an excellent road trip stop  for those people who need to see the biggest/tallest landmarks available.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road device

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Buy tickets in advance to most of these places, especially the Neuschwanstein castle. Castle  tours start  at a set hour, down to the very minute, so make sure you don’t miss it.
  • If your child is a big Disney fan and you have to choose, then your absolute priority should be Neuschwanstein.
  • Many of these areas have a multitude of steps to climb.
  • Many of these buildings are medieval, and the rooms can be poorly lit.
  • Huge lines in the summer can be a significant deterrent, especially for Neuschwanstein. So try to travel off season.
  • Get a guided tour, because they get the tickets for you and you bypass the line.
  • Advise your kid about proper etiquette in these historic buildings. Often you are not allowed to touch anything.
  • Don’t leave the area without having a slice of authentic Black Forest cake.

We’re always looking for new things to ignite my family’s imagination and encourage their interests while we travel. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to add Germany’s Romantic Road to your itinerary.

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