Tour Reflection-Becky Hasselle, Dyersburg Middle School
The tour helped us all see a complete picture of how vast, widespread, and systematic the Nazi plan for the murder and annihilation of the Jewish people was. We learned about the root of the Holocaust in racist Nazi ideology and saw it’s beginnings in Berlin. We visited the villa of the Wannsee Conference where high ranking Nazis agreed to the “Final Solution,” and Track 17, the train station in an upscale neighborhood Berlin where many German Jews who had to pay their fare were deported to concentration and death camps. We noticed the close proximity of neighborhoods to the camps, retraced the steps the prisoners walked, stepped inside the gas chambers of Auschwitz and imagined how helpless people must have felt in the moments before they were murdered. At Auschwitz we got a glimpse of the scale of it from the rooms of hair, shoes and everyday objects that had belonged to some of the 1.1 million people who were murdered there.
Our guide, David Wanjtraub, was excellent in not only relaying the facts about the atrocities that occurred in the places we visited but he told us memorable personal stories about survivors and those who helped. We learned so much by visiting these places in person that we could not have learned by reading a book or watching a movie. I am very grateful to the Tennessee Holocaust Commission for this opportunity to learn and improve my teaching about the Holocaust.