Sophomore students come face to face with history at the LA Museum of the Holocaust

On April 9, sophomores from Armine Vardanyan and Diana McGrath’s Humanities classes boarded three buses for an all-day field trip to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH). It was the second round of students visiting the museum, with the sophomores from Chris and Jennifer Davis’ classes going on March 30.

LAMOTH is a free museum in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles that is devoted to the Holocaust. Original artifacts donated by survivors and their families fill the quiet rooms as students tour the museum with the help of a docent. This was the fifth year the Humanities students embarked on the trip. Students had the opportunity to experience firsthand the horrors of World War II as well developing a unique connection with the six million Jews who died.

Since the events mentioned at the museum tie in with the sophomores’ reading of Night — a memoir of author Elie Wiesel’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camps — history teacher Chris Davis thought going to this museum would give a different experience from the normal history textbooks. “It’s different,” Davis said. “When we study World War II or the Holocaust, anything in the Humanities class, taking learning out of the classroom is always helpful and makes students more receptive to learning.”

While one half of the students toured the exhibitions, the others had a chance to listen to Holocaust survivors. It was these survivors who described their experiences in the Nazi concentration camps and left a profound effect on sophomore Nairi Halebian

“My heart broke,” said sophomore Nairi Haleblian. “When our speaker Phil told us that he had to bury his father’s grave, it showed me how some people can be so cruel and inhumane to obtain power.”

For many, LAMOTH wasn’t just an escape from school; it was a day filled with remembrance for six million people who lost their lives and a reminder to never forget what happened during World War II.

“The most touching moment was when we were outside in a memorial for the Jewish children who died,” said sophomore Anna Feddersen. “It was so sad that they didn’t get to live a life while I get to have a proper education, meals, a bed, a home, and a family. I get to live my life and I feel grateful for what I have today.”