I was always skeptical of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I understand why there’s a Holocaust museum in Israel, and I understand why there’s one in Berlin, and I understand why there are memorials in the places where the slaughter was carried out. But why in Washington D.C.?
Then I went there, I got it. The reason there’s a Holocaust Museum in America is because it’s a Holocaust Museum that’s about America. The museum tells the story, as all Holocaust museums must, of the German slaughter of the Jews, and of gay people, disabled people, Roma and Slavs besides. But the focus is on what happened here in America, and what didn’t happen. The point of the museum is to ask a simple question: what is the responsibility of a rich, safe, comfortable country to the human beings being hunted down and killed outside its borders?
OK, I’ll admit it, that’s not a simple question. But it’s a question worth thinking about today.