The Happy Holocaust

A few years ago a friend and I went to Washington, D.C. for a long weekend. Many of the museums in DC have free admission, which was great for students like us, and we wound up at the Holocaust Museum. Little did we know when we arrived but, although entrance to the Holocaust Museum is free, they limit the number of entrants per day. They give out tickets and there’s a guard at the entrance to the exhibit to check them.

Well, they were out of tickets for the day, so we wandered toward the exit, where there’s a place to light remembrance candles. We noticed that, though the entrance was guarded, the exit was not.

Taking advantage of opportunity, we slipped into the exit and proceeded to tour the exhibit from end to beginning. It turns out that, when told in reverse the Holocaust is one of the most uplifting stories in all of human history:

American and Russian soldiers abandon concentration camps filled with emaciated prisoners, leaving them to the care of efficient and effective Nazi commanders. Massive explosions turn rubble into beautiful German cities. The Nazis work tirelessly night and day to bring millions of people back from the dead, clothe them, nurse them back to normal body weight and then load them onto trains to be reunited with their friends and family, who cry with joy at their arrival. All their possessions are given back to them and they resume peaceful lives, encouraged by cheering crowds of blue-eyed Aryans by the animated speeches of one of the world’s greatest humanitarians, Adolf Hitler, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was later named Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

The only problem with the whole thing is that when you reach the beginning, you can’t leave because there’s a guard there, stamping tickets at the front door. So, you have to do an about-face and see the whole wonderful, horrible thing happen again, except this time the other way around.

But at least at the end there’s a place to light a candle in remembrance of it all.


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