Sunday, August 12, 2012


Super smart MWW participants team up to define forgiveness, take a look....

Forgiveness is moving on and accepting what happened while letting go of the hope that the past can ever be changed.  - Group 1

Forgiveness- A personal choice one makes.  A personal gift you give, if, and when, you are ready.  -Group 2

Forgiveness is the ability to let the harm go and mutually accept the circumstances and MOVE ON!  -Group 3

Forgiveness:  To accept someone’s regrets, or a personal release of the negative energy caused by anothers actions.  - Group 4

The "Nazi Hunter"

To those who have frequented the depths of discussion on the Holocaust, the name, Simon Wiesenthal tends to come up.  Prior to meeting with a group upholding and continuing his accomplishments in Vienna, I was among these people. I knew his name, I had read his book “ The Sunflower”, but other than that, I had little knowledge he was so significant. 

He was a Jewish Holocaust survivor.  In Simon’s case, he was met with the question of forgiveness, upon a chance meeting with a dying Nazi soldier.  He contemplated the question of whether he should have forgiven the Nazi of his deeds. This encounter formed the basis of his book “the Sunflower”  and I would contend to say that it gave him inspiration for his future life’s work. 

He was called the Nazi Hunter; It was not a term he coined himself.  In practicality, Simon Wiesenthal chased those who had committed heinous crimes against humanity by following paper trails and records.  He sought to bring those who had promoted the Holocaust to court.  His efforts have brought many Nazis to light.  As I stood in  his cramped office in Vienna listening to the workers who continued his work, I was astonished how much this one man had done.  Lining the wall were row on top of row of boxes covered in untouched dust, each filled to the top with details on criminal’s lives.  The entire history of a select few perpetrators were before me.  It was eerie to say the least, but awe inspiring as well.  Wiesenthal had managed to gather enough evidence to incriminate the horror makers of the Holocaust.

I am inspired by Wiesenthal.  Others may be grateful, some indifferent, but I felt his work will have lasting impact.  By bringing perpetrators to light, he has struck a cord of awareness.  The more people realize, accept, and understand the realities of the Holocaust and the capabilities of driven human beings, the closer we come to not repeating history.  Wiesenthal’s work was in simple terms, done to open eyes. 

-Danny Blaugher, MWW Student Participant

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Celebrate Good Times

Austria, first victims??

What has surprised me about Austria’s role in WWII was how excited many Austrians were to have the Nazi party, and more specifically Hitler take control of their nation.  I have always thought that Austria was taken by force, and they were unhappy during Hitler’s regime.  The way I understand it, is that many Austrian people were looking for a leader that would improve their post WWI situation, and wanted the Nazi party to take control.  These people were not Hitler’s first victims, they were willing participants. Mob mentality drove some to unspeakable acts against the Jewish people.  Most were so ashamed that when the war was over, they eagerly accepted the title of “Hitler’s First Victim”. 

Aleesha Paddleford, MWW Participant

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Voice of Conscience

Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times

Beautiful Souls is a book from Eyal Press which examines, through true stories, what makes a person stand up to evil. 

The author discusses the power of an “inner directed” personality.  An individual with an inner directed personality, doesn’t care or worry what his peers or fellow critics think of him, he only needs to be true to himself.  Because these individuals do not need the community to feel fulfilled, they are able to stand up against their community.  The author examines individuals who stood up and said “No”, from WWII, the Serb -Croatian War, the Palestinian Israeli conflict, and a whistle blowing financial advisor from a business gone corrupt. 

Even though these individuals stood up for what was right, they end up ostracized from their communities.  Each was asked if they could would they do it again given what they had lost as a result.  Each said they would absolutely do it again, because it was the right thing to do. 

Did Hitler set out to be a world leader?  What were his beginnings? 

Hitler wanted to be an artist, but when he applied to art school in Vienna, he was not accepted.  He moved to Munich to be part of the artistic community.  He joined the Thule political party, where he was accepted only because the leaders thought they would use him as a tool and a spy for other organizations.  The leaders of the Thule party asked Hitler to infiltrate the Workers Party, (Communists) as they felt that the Workers Party was a threat to their group  Hitler reported back that the Workers Party held similar anti-semitic beliefs as the Thule Party, and were not a threat.  The Thule party guided Hitler to become the leader of the Workers Party, teaching him how to speak, how to lead, how to use people and propaganda, and how to deliver a message.  In short, how to be the Hitler we all remember.

I don’t believe Hitler or the Nazis set out to rule the world in the beginning.  First he wanted to be a voice and a leader for his party, then for the country.  As his hatred grew and his popularity rose, he thought he would give his people more and more of what they wanted-  more land, annex Czechoslovakia and Austria, and fewer Jews in Germany.

Each step of the way was a chance for the Germans and the world to stand up and say NO.  Each step Hitler took successfully without the people or the world saying “No this is not OK”, gave Hitler more and more power and confidence to do more, take more, and become more evil. 

Julie Blaugher, MWW Participant

The Power of Oral History

MWW Student Participant Ashley Davis explains how a Holocaust Survivor's story makes it all seem real. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Happened in Building X

We toured the Dachau Concentration Camp which was the first concentration camp in the large system of concentration and extermination camps Hitler and the Nazis set up.  It had originally been a munitions storage facility.

We followed the steps of the former prisoners- walked through the gate, stopped where they turned in all of their possessions, including clothes, and got the hair all over their body crudely and cruelly shaved.

We saw where the prisoners “lived”. We stood where the prisoners stood in roll call twice daily.  We learned the type of work detail, and abuse the prisoners were subjected to, and the watery soup they were given to eat.  We saw the cramped barracks and imagined the cold, heat, and discomfort of so many hurt and hungry prisoners.

Dachau was not a extermination camp however, late in the Nazi regime Building X was built.  Building X was so named to disguise the horror that it housed - the systematic killing and burning of small groups and individuals.   We walked through the entire building, following the condemned prisoners  steps.  First into the room to remove clothes, then the room where the clothes were disinfected, then into the room prior to the crematorium. I imagined the prisoners in that room - cold, scared, angry.  As I looked into the next room The Gas Chamber, I will never forget my feeling of dread.  I stepped a little closer so I could peer into the sparkling white room.  As I did, I felt a great wall of energy from the ceiling to the floor and on either side of me, warning me not to go any further.  Frightened, I quickly backed away from the door leading to the chamber and escaped outside.  I was amazed at the experience, and the force of the invisible energy.

I have never felt anything like that energy force before.  I will always remember Dachau and it’s victims. 

- Julie Blaugher, MWW Participant

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poem: After Dachau

Muffled — a bell tolls,
the vibrations stretch the seams between my ribs
inhalation is my blessing this morning.

My ears hear birds singing,
leaves in green dancing on outstretched

Humanity died a death here,
our bodies
mobile stars, we’re led through these gates,
appeased by an iron lie.
Our bodies were de-personned here
stripped of name, point of origin, profession, and power —
we were made disinfected hairless lab rats, fit for use.

Humanity died here —
placed in stripped suits, labeled and decorated for the simple knowledge needed to kill. Humanity died here.

We ran for bread and soup
and the least was made last.
For bread and watery soup.

At night, warm bodies cooled by dead bodies,
dead bodies stiff as wood turned kindling for the ovens.

Humanity died, Hear, Oh! Israel, the cries of the people —
let not the word of G-d go unheeded or unheard.

Humanity died here —
atone and be revived. Bring your prayers to the water
and bathe your sorrow and regret —
let it lift and be carried away with the stream.

Humanity died —
Hear, Oh Israel!
Our God is one and so are we.
Pray for us that we will be reconciled to the great soul of man.

Humanity died here —
But, Never Again!

Ieisha McIntyre, — MWW Participant

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why Take This Trip?

I decided to invest in this trip due to the amount of knowledge, experience, and friendships I made last year. I wished to build upon my understanding of the Holocaust and discover the beginnings of the Nazi party through experiences outside classroom walls. — Cindy Evans, MWW Participant

Poem: Contemplating Holocaust

I've often thought that were it me to be
held sacrifice for the vice of economy
to appease the God of currency
that not a victim would I be.
But, alas stand I
In Nuremberg and Munich,
where the Mad Dog was birthed
And Think
No they come for the teachers first.

I’ve thought, “I would resist and survive the challenge of the long walk. The crowded heat of cattle cars.
The endless weighting of life against life.
The rending of family,”
These would only shore up my resistance.
And Then the callouses on my foot from too much sight seeing, reminds me of my fragility.

I often think of my love,
for the underdog.
For whom I always route,
having been the underdog myself,
I’m familiar with this suit.

But, I’m routing for the underdog to win,
Defeat those privileged few.
So, am I any different then from those who yelled, “Die, Jew”?

I will always be the one who could not stand
but hold up their bare hand
to the cannon in defense of the other.
Knowing, I am one man in Tienanmen,
Knowing I am Malcolm X,
Knowing I am Harriet Tubman,
and would rather shot one who strove to go back
and save the forward moving few than allow one
to nestle in the bosom of mother oppression.

I think of times I’ve passed a man with a sign,
weighed the change in my pocket,
and moved on.

Where are the Mad Dogs now?
What sacrificial call is being heard?
Where in this world is the contemplation of Holocaust?

— Ieisha McIntyre, MWW Participant

A Walk Through Dachau

As I was walking through Dachau Concentration Camp, I couldn’t help but imagine the prisoners in every place we visited, every road we walked on, every room we stood in.  The feeling was overwhelming.  To think of us during that time, in there place, knowing our grandfathers would not have a chance, and out uncles, brothers, husbands, and fathers, the men we often see as strong, be in that hell.  Even to consider suicide as an option.  It’s hard to think about.  It’s even harder to learn about what those men at Dachau experienced, and were forced to go through.  I don’t  know how the families of the prisoners could bare it.  I guess they didn’t have much of a choice, all they could do was hope and pray and get through the day.  Everyone during that time was unbelievably strong and brave, even if they felt weak and scared.  I left the camp feeling humbled and with a heavy heart and mind.  --Ashley Gill, MWW Student Participant

Hitler's Table- Stashed in a Forgoten Hall

While on a tour of Munich we were introduced to the horrors of the Nazi party, Hitler, and the roles they played in turning Germany into a place of terror, destruction, and lies.  We stopped at many places throughout Munich and learned about their history and how they developed.  One place in particular was Hitler’s headquarters, which has now been transformed into a performing arts school.  What was so interesting was that in the back hallway stood a long, black, old-looking table.  At this table, Hitler signed the Munich Treaty.  I thought it was interesting when our guide explained that they kept this table as acknowledgement of the past, but decided not to display the table, to prevent power given to the piece.  This was an illuminating experience for me, because I believe if they had chosen to encase/display, or burn the table, It would have given it the power HItler meant everything he touched to have.  I like that the table was just placed in a hallway that many pass through as a constant reminder of what happened that one hopes no one ever forgets.     -Ashley Lopez, MWW Student Participant

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Tour Begins

We are off and running.  The adventures of our long trip over to Europe are still fresh in mind, but we hit the road first thing with a walking tour of Munich, focusing, of course, on the Third Reich, and how it got it’s beginnings in Munich.   Thank you to Milk and Honey Tours for the most memorable journey.  Our guide Michael expertly made the history come to life before our eyes.

In the afternoon we heard the very personal and private Holocaust stories from Max Mannheimer.  Sent to the concentration camp in Dachau when he was 23, Max and his brother were the only survivors in his family of 8.  Thank you Max for opening up yourself to us.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Get Ready to Blog

It's almost time to blog.  Get your writers mind ready cause we're expecting all participants to have your say. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What to look forward to

Last year's students share their experience.

The Plan

Itinerary (Subject to change)

10 days/9 nights Destinations: Munich//Dachau/Bavarian Alps/Vienna:

Friday July 6th departure
Saturday July 7th arrival
Arrival Munich

Munich Overview
- General Eisenhower once called Munich 'the cradle of the Nazi beast'. Munich is widely known as the birthplace of the National Socialist Party and the home of its
headquarters. Munich was the birthplace of a movement that would shake humanity with some of the most horrific events in history. Here we learn how this movement was allowed to become fertile with tours that show us the beer halls which hosted the first small gatherings of those who one day would lead the Third Reich, and the place where the first major speeches were made. Our time here will focus on how these first rumblings unfolded into blatant anti-Semitic actions on a vibrant Jewish community, including 1938’s Kristallnacht. Participants will learn that in spite of the Nazi’s assault, a powerful resistance grew within the Munich community. We’ll hear an example with an in- depth history of the White Rose movement. There will be free time to explore the city as well as options with adult supervision for students.

Sunday July 8th- Munich
10am Holocaust/City History Walk
2pm Holocaust eyewitness speaker
4pm Free time
7pm Group Dinner

Nuremberg Overview- Our time in Nuremberg focuses on the creation and implementation of Germany’s anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws, how the enormous gatherings put on at the Rally
grounds were used to introduce the Nazi strategy of propaganda, and how the world chose this city to put officials on trial for their crimes. We’ll follow the history and development of the Reichsparteigelände and attend a specialized study talk on how the Nuremberg trial influenced our present international court system when we visit the newly opened Documentation Center.

Monday July 9th– Nuremberg/Munich
8am Departure for day trip to Nuremberg Nuremberg Tour Documentation Center study session on Nuremberg Trials.

8:30pm Group Meeting

Dachau Overview- Two months after becoming Chancellor of Germany, Hitler established the first concentration camp for political undesirables. Dachau evolved into a central camp for most of southern Germany with over 30,000 recorded deaths by 1945. Students and teachers will attend a workshop the evening before their tour of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site the following day.

Tuesday July 10th– Munich/Dachau/Bechtesgaden
9am Departure for Dachau (45 min)
Private tour/ Dachau Memorial
3pm Travel to Berchtesgaden (2.5 hours)

Wednesday July 11th-Bavarian Alps
Freetime  in the Bavarian Alps
Various options with adult

Bavarian Alps /Berchtesgaden Overview – We have a tour at the site of the former Bavarian headquarters that will include some of the original buildings from the period. We’ll
learn the historical importance of Hitler's former residence and southern headquarters on the mountain and have a short tour of the Documentation center with a look at the underground bunker system. There will be some extended time here to rest in the mountains before beginning the last leg of our program.

Thursday July 12th – Bavarian Alps Berchtesgaden/Vienna
Morning Free time
Afternoon- Depart for Vienna (grocery run for food on the train)

Vienna Overview – The Vienna Jewish community is concentrated around the Leopoldstadt, the second district. This was the city’s first ghetto and later Jewish district. We will spend time at
the Jewish Museums in the Dorotheergasse and at the Judenplatz Square in the first district. Aside from our focus on Jewish life and the Holocaust’s effect on the community, we will tour the Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. After almost five years in German concentration camps, Wiesenthal dedicated the remainder of his life to tracking down hidden Nazis so that they could be brought to justice. In 1947, he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria. Later he opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. There will be free time to explore the city as well as options with adult supervision for students.

Friday July 13th–Vienna
Morning –Vienna Holocaust history walking tour Simon Wiesenthal Center program
1pm Free time for lunch
4pm Resistance Museum
8pm Group Meeting

Saturday July 14th - Vienna
10am Walking tour: WWII and Occupied Vienna(3hrs)
1pm Free time for lunch
2:30 Post-Holocaust Speaker
Evening - Progressive Dessert!

Sunday July 15th- Vienna
Free day (several options with leaders leading activities)
8pm Final meeting

Monday July 16th – Vienna/home

History and Resistance

Museum Without Walls- History and Resistance

Bavarian history and culture through the eyes of those who lived it.

The 2012 Holocaust program takes students and educators on a 10- day exploration of the birth of the National Socialist party, the propaganda that allowed it to grow and a resistance movement that was vital to saving so many Jewish lives. Participants also attend study workshops with experts in Munich, Vienna and Nuremberg.

“Living History” is a hallmark of the Museum Without Walls experience; students have the rare opportunity to meet these survivors, resistance workers and historians in an intimate setting.