Giovann’s quest for mind cultivation: HMH remembers victims and survivors

I stepped into the room, and as I gazed at the pictures hanging from the walls in front of me. I felt an immediate tingle down my spine. Within a few minutes of standing there, my eyes became watery, and I felt a deep sorrow in my heart. Standing in the room was overwhelming. I wanted to turn around and walk toward the street outside that burst with sunlight.
The room where I stood is in the Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH). An estimated six million Jews were executed during WWII, and of the six million, more than one million were children. HMH was built in 1990 to commemorate those that perished, as well as to give a voice to its survivors.
The Museum adopted a mission statement with the intent of reminding and educating the public about threats of prejudice and hatred.
“To promote awareness of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust,” the mission states, “which claimed the lives of millions of Jews and other innocent victims. By fostering Holocaust remembrance, understanding and education, the Museum will educate students as well as the general population about the uniqueness of the event and its ongoing lesson: that humankind must learn to live together in peace and harmony”
My trip to HMH was educational and emotional. I reached a room that displays 30-minute films titled “Voices” and “Voices II.” The films are testimonials from Houston area residents that survived the Holocaust.
I sat there and listened intently, and before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks. To my surprise, I was not the only person in the room crying. Nidia Gonzalez, the woman sitting next to me, said listening to the survivors’ stories made her weep without shame.
“I know I cried a lot, but I just can’t believe what these people went through,” Gonzales said, “I’ve read a lot of stories and studied about the Holocaust in school, but it is really different when you hear it from someone who lived through it.”
“ I started crying without even feeling embarrassed because the stories touched my heart. I am walking out of here with my own story to tell about the pain that comes from racism and hatred,” she said.
In order for our generation to see a bright future, we must first educate ourselves about the mistakes of the past and most importantly, the horrors of hate crimes, racism, and prejudice. There is no better place to start learning than HMH which is dedicated to educating the public about one of the world’s most horrid genocides.
HMH is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is no charge for admission, but a $5 donation per person is suggested.