Tuesday, August 3 – I think – today will be our last day downtown DC....our weekly sub-way ticket expires. We exited the subway at the Smithsonian Station and walked the long trip to the Jefferson Memorial. It is way out of the main pathway of most other attractions. To make matters worse, they are doing some construction and require you to walk three quarters of the way around the Memorial to enter......enough already, Jeesh! It is nice but not overly impressive. A huge statue of Jefferson inside a large marble dome. Nothing seems to make it unique or memorable.
We then headed over to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
When we first entered the tour, we were each given an Identification Card. This card tells the story of a real person who lived during the Holocaust. The card gives the name and lots of information about the person. Then it tells what was happening the person’s life between 1933-39 and 1940-44.
Marsha was Feige Schwarzfink from Szydlowiec, Poland. In 1941, her sister and she were taken to the labor camp at Skarszysko. She worked 12 hour days and received one slice of bread, a bowl of soup, and some ersatz coffee. They used the coffee to wash their hair which was always dirty and lice-infested. She was sent to three labor camps before being liberated on April 30, 1945. She emigrated to the United States in 1949. If she is still living, she would be 85.
Paul was Leif Donde from Copenhagen, Denmark. His family was smuggled into Sweden on a fishing boat in 1943. After Germany surrendered, he and his family returned to Denmark. If Leif is still living, he would be 77.
There are no photography allowed in the Museum. You begin by riding an elevator to the forth floor and then slowly walk through the exhibits to the ground floor. It is a very well done and extensive remembrance of the Nazi extermination of the Jews during WWII. Kind of sad and depressing. There are thousands of photographs, actual examples of items from the concentration camps, videos, power point presentations, and descriptions of this awful event. Much of this we had seen before but we spent over two hours walking at our own pace through the museum. A person could spend a full day in this museum.
The exhibition is divided into three parts: “Nazi Assault,” “Final Solution,” and “Last Chapter.”
**The photos are from the Museum website.
Thousands of shoes were found at the concentration camps.
We walked through a railcar that took thousands of Jews to their death. Photo mural of a selection at Auschwitz-Birkenau was displayed on the other side. It was dark and very moving experience.
Display of concentration camp prisoner uniforms.
Torah scrolls desecrated during the Kristallnacht pogrom.
Paul finally received a text from Marsha that she was through, and we met in the lobby to head to the next museum.
Next on our list was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
When you enter you are greeted by a 12 ton elephant. This was a real live elephant at one time.
The museum was opened in 1910. Whether looking at the history and cultures of Africa, describing our earliest Mammalian ancestor or primate diversity around the world, examining ancient life forms including the ever popular dinosaurs, or exploring the beauty of rare gemstones such as uniquely colored diamonds, this Museum as it!
This extensive exhibit was of all types of animals. Reminded Paul of a huge Cabella Store with all the stuffed animals. Paul thought the skeleton display was most interesting. They had skeletons of almost any animal you could think of, from giraffes, turtles, birds, fish, buffalo, cows, dogs and even cats (sorry Bella).
Mammal Hall – These animals look like they are alive.
Normally in a museum the sign says DO NOT TOUCH. This one is so hands-on, look what it says…
Dinosaurs Hall…This was Marsha’s favorite.
Fossil Hall…Marsha found this fossil for all you back in Ohio.
Geology, Gems, and Mineral Hall…These were GOREGOUS!
This is a necklace from Napoleon that contains 172 diamonds. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
We did see the Hope Diamond but just couldn’t get a good enough picture.
Special Exhibit…This is a mummy bull. Very strange.
When we first walked into the Human Origins hall this was the current world population.
In the time it took Marsha to snap the picture above (a few seconds), this was what the population changed to.
Amazing how fast the world is growing.
By this time Paul was running out of energy so he did a little people watching on a bench in the main rotunda while Marsha finished looking through the museum. Paul said he was one of the few men sitting on the benches that wasn't dozing off!!!
We finished our day in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. The Garden includes seventeen works from as well as loans for special exhibitions. This was nice but not nearly as wonderful as the sculpture garden in City Park, New Orleans. Paul felt he could have done most of these sculptures....ha ha!
Here are just a few examples. Look at the picture, try to guess the name and then check below the picture to see if you are correct. We will start out easy and go to the more difficult.
You are almost right…Thinker on a Rock
You men probably got this one…One-inch Weathering Steel
Now look real closely at the last one.
Correct…Girls. What you don’t see it? Well,the artist, a woman, regards this sculpture as her personal response to totalitarianism. We think someone needs to get a life…LOL
We returned home to relax for the evening. Arriving home about 4:30 p.m., Marsha remarked that it was the earliest we returned home all week. Can you say, “Exhausted!”
What Paul thinks is his last trip on the Metro.
Thanks again for stopping by. We look forward to seeing you back real soon.