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The report is focused on the problem of tolerance and cultural diversity. The description of the exhibit devoted to the Holocaust at the Museum of Tolerance is provided hereafter. The displayed artifacts reflect the historical and moral lessons of World War II.
The museums not only collect and exhibit historical and cultural artifacts. They are also aimed at reminding us of our history and make us think about the events of the past. The purpose of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is to save the memories of mankind’s sufferings caused by human intolerance and prejudice. I have recently visited the exhibit devoted to the Holocaust at the Museum of Tolerance, and I am going to describe my impressions and thoughts related to the theme of the exhibit in this report.
The Holocaust Section at the Museum of Tolerance
There were different ongoing exhibits at the museum, but I chose to attend the Holocaust Section. My visit to this place and the attendance of this section represented an important experience for me. I should admit that it was rather emotionally difficult to see the belongings of the imprisoned of the Nazi concentration camp and to think about the hard fortune of those people. The exhibit lasted for a little more than an hour, during which we were shown the presence of the historical events from the 1920s to the end of World War II in 1945. Each of the visitors was given a passport card with a photo of the person who went through the sorrows of that time. At the beginning of the exhibit, we were given the card with the child’s photo. At the end of the presentation, we got to know the ultimate destiny of that person.
Undoubtedly, each of the artifacts exhibited at the museum deserves special attention, but those, which were collected from Auschwitz, were especially interesting for me. I heard about this concentration camp before, but when I saw the belongings of its victims, I truly imagined what they went through in their lives. Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp located nearby Krakow in Poland (Auschwitz 2013).
Millions of people became the victims of the Nazi regime. The Jews, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, and the Polish participants of the resistance movement were sent to the camp. The majority of them were executed, and many were the objects of the cruel medical experiments conducted by the Nazi. The camp was divided into several blocks. “Between the crematorium and the medical-experiments barrack stood the “Black Wall,” where SS guards executed thousands of prisoners” (Auschwitz 2013, n.pag.).
The Nazi concentration camps and Auschwitz, in particular, were cruel and extreme examples of discrimination based on cultural differences. Although different people were sent to the camp, and some of them were imprisoned for military or political reasons, the majority of the inmates were Jews. “Throughout the existence of the camp, the authorities there treated Jews with the most ruthless, and often quite refined, cruelty. SS men regarded a Jewish life as the least valuable of all” (Jews in Auschwitz 2013, n.pag.).
During the exhibit, we were shown the letter by Adolf Hitler, in which he told about his hate for the Jews and called for their complete annihilation. Auschwitz became the embodiment of Nazi ideas. Nowadays, it is the symbol of the Holocaust and the memorial complex devoted to the millions of the victims of the Nazi regime.
The Principle of Cultural Diversity
The Museum of Tolerance reminds us of the consequences of hate based on cultural or racial differences. At the same time, the mission of the museum is to teach us tolerance and humanity. Undoubtedly, the principle of cultural diversity underlies its purposes. It is important to understand the meaning of this principle correctly. Cultural diversity can be defined as “having a heart and a mind that acknowledges, accepts, values, and even celebrates the various ways that people live and interact in the world” (Diversity affairs 2013, n.pag.). The exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance shows the historical example of the clampdown of this principle.
We should admit that the events of World War II did not extirpate hate and intolerance. Unfortunately, they continue to exist in the modern world. Leo F. Parvis says that “diversity is one of those words loaded with emotional connotations that evoke charges of “political correctness” on the one hand and equally strong defenses of “social justice” and “human equality” on the other” (Parvis 2005, p.7).
I agree with this statement, but I think that the public discussions and debates show the achieved level of progress in the understanding of the importance of this principle. The social organizations and movements take active participation in the protection of human rights, which are based on the principles of freedom and equality. The United Nations Organization proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948 (Universal Declaration n.d).
This document symbolized the beginning of the new period in the development of democracy and was aimed at the prevention of the events of World War II. According to the Declaration, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” (The Universal Declaration n.pag.).
Globalization is the inevitable process in the development of the modern world (Globalization n.d.). It means the integration of the countries as well as the blurring of the cultural boundaries. Taking into account the historical information and the vision of the problem of cultural diversity, which I obtained at the Museum of Tolerance, I should say that globalization can promote tolerance and social justice.
In order to summarize all the above mentioned, it should be said that the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is founded on the valuable mission of reminding people of the crimes against humanity and of the consequences of human hate and prejudice. The exhibit of the Holocaust section gave me a clearer vision of the horrible events of World War II and of the Nazi concentration camps in particular. My visit to the museum changed my perceptions of the importance of such kind of places as the Museum of Tolerance. Now, I firmly believe that they carry out a vital social function of saving the memories of mankind’s past. I will recommend visiting the museum to my friends because I think that every one of us should recognize its historical and moral lessons.
Auschwitz. (2013). Web.
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Diversity Affairs. What is Cultural Diversity? (2013). Web.
Globalization. (n.d.). Web.
Jews in Auschwitz. (2013). Web.
Parvis, L. F. (2005). Understanding Cultural Diversity in Today’s Complex World. Raleigh, USA: Lulu.com.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (n.d.) Web.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2012). Web.