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New Holocaust Memorial Opens in Paris
by

Professor Arnie Greenberg

I was really taken by the new and modern Shoah (Holocaust) Museum that I discovered in Paris.

It was only opened in January of  2005, but already it is one of the most moving and well attended museums in France, an awareness-raising center that presents the history of genocide during WWII.

The museum captures your imagination as soon as you enter what looks like a walled fortification. In the outer courtyard one is greeted by a huge urn-like statue with the names of the camps where the Shoah took place.

Then, before you even enter the museum, you have walls displaying 76,000 names of Jewish men, women and children who were murdered and who died without a grave. The crypt contains ashes of victims collected from the camps.

There is a stark reality to the courtyard, with the wall that faces you adorned with a huge Star of David. The names inscribed are in order of the victims’ death or disappearance. There is even space for new names to be added; memorial candles dot the bottom of the giant tablets of names.

Inside I found a modern and functional building that was light, spacious and filled with well-displayed exhibits.

The fact that there were videoed interviews of survivors allows one to hear first hand the sad memories of these few. The photographs, old valises, shoes and eyeglasses, teeth and hair brought the terrible reality to my eyes.

There is no way that a younger person can feel what these victims went through, but hearing some of them talk and seeing the faces of the victims made the museum more personal. There is also a room with only pictures of children

The building was designed with elevators and ramps for the handicapped and bathroom facilities and places to leave your belongings if you choose to walk around more comfortably.

There are guides available, and I saw school groups of all religious denominations hearing the guides describe the exhibits. For some, it was too terrible to see. It is a difficult exhibit but an important one, lest we forget.

The large room with the light burning for the unknown dead contains ashes from the camps. It was eerily silent. There is a flame, which is a symbol of the unknown Jewish martyr who died. It is in a large, darkened room and very moving.

So, too, was the special exhibit of the Nuremburg Trial, showing pictures of the defendants, the accusers and the judges. It is obviously historical, but more than that, it reminds us of the crimes and of the punishment.

The museum hours are as follows.

Sunday-Friday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Thursday open until 10 p.m.

Closed public holidays and some Jewish holidays. There is no entrance fee.

WHERE YOU SAY HERE YOU WILL SEE FILMS, IS THIS THE SAME AS THE MUSEUM ABOVE? YES

Here you will see films, slides, interviews, personal, letters, photographs and

.performances from time to time. Ask for a list of special events planned six months in advance. These activities include lectures, films, concerts, special events and children’s activities. There are guided walks, too, where you can be guided through the Marais and La Ruche, where many Jewish painters once lived. There is a display of letters, posters and newspaper articles on anti-Semitism and the Dreyfus case.

Visitors are charged a fee for special events, lectures and concerts and tours to sites outside the museum. (e.g. Drancy for students)

For information and reservations call, 01 53 01 86 53 Monday – Friday 9:30-5 p.m     IS THE ABOVE RESERVATONS NUMBER AND TIMES FOR THE MUSEUMS YES

On the walls in the courtyard are the names of those who died in the camps.

Some stairs and some areas are dimly lit. Narrow entrances are necessary for security.

Many of the photographs are vivid and not recommended for young children.

 Even if you’ve visited other museums about the Holocaust, I recommend this exceptional set of archives, photographs, letters, records, posters that describe a collective history and personal destinies. The 2,550 photographs call to mind the fate of Jewish children deported and, in a general sense, the crime against humanity.

There are many floors and library or research facilities. Inquire ahead for any special needs, like research, groups, or tours for the disabled. On the fourth floor there is the exhibition about Nuremburg. This alone can take a few hours if you read everything available.

The whole museum is moving and complete. It certainly ranks with other museums on the Holocaust theme around the world. Even the bookstore is well stocked with books on every perspective of the events and times. The shop and library are open during the same hours as the museum.

The side wall of the building, on the street dedicated to the martyrs, is made up of intertwined  Stars of David. It is very effective. Take time to walk around.

Best time to visit is when the groups are gone. It is closed Saturdays and some Jewish holidays.

IS THE ABOVE DIFFERENT FROM THE MUSEUM HOURS YOU LIST ABOVE? YES they are  the same. Everything closes down Sat and Jewish holidays…

Every second Sunday there is a free tour in English at 3pm. A list of special events is available at the entrance.

Address:

17, rue Geoffroy-L,Asnier
75004 Paris
France

On the Right bank near quai de l’Hotel de Ville and Ile St Louis

Phone: 01 42 77 44 72
Web:
http://www.memorialdelashoah.org

Free for permanent exhibition.

Groups and Guided Tours:

Call 01 53 01 17 25/26   Reservations required.

Individual Guides: Call 01 42 77 44 72 Reservations required.

It is easy to find near the river. You can go by Metro: Saint-Paul or Hotel de Ville

or bus :67 76 69 96

It is an easy walk from Hotel de Ville or Ile St. Louis

There is parking nearby at Place Boudoyer, (underground) or Rue Lobaul, Pont Marie (rue de L’Hotel de Ville)

Lockers and keys provided free of charge. There are benches provided inside and out  where you can rest, write notes or just sit quietly with your thoughts.

Ramps and elevators provided. For Info. about access call, 01 42 77 44 72.

I visited twice while I was there. You must take the time to examine what they offer. No matter who you are, you’ll find it quite complete, well designed and very moving. It certainly adds a new dimension to what we already know..

Don’t miss it.

Note:

You may want to add the Museum of Jewish Art and History to your list of places to visit. It too is highly recommended and it is close enough to the Pletzl, the old Jewish Quarter where you can sample the traditional foods and crafts that are still for sale.

Address: 71, rue du Temple, 75003. Phone: 33 (0) 1 53 01 86 60.

#   #   #

You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at

Email:  Ultours1@gmail.com

Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to:  www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at ultours1@gmail.com.

(More about the writer.)

 

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