Several weeks ago I attended a leadership skills workshop in Washington D.C. You may expect an event like this to commence with trust falls and chess games, but instead, we did something valuable and eye opening.
We took a bus to 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place and toured the Holocaust Museum.
When you walk in, you’re handed an identity card. I was a Jewish Dad. The setting is gloomy, almost like a prison. There’s exposed mesh wire and iron.
As you walk through, you read statistics like:
Then the statistics became real. You see a hall of shoes. The shoes’ owners were killed in gas chambers.
You walk in boxcars. Jews and other minority groups were transported in these compact and rickety trains to concentration camps. Many died on the way because they were packed so tightly they suffocated.
You turn the corner into a new hallway. You see a sepia-toned photograph of the person who led this regime of terror, Adolph Hitler. He’s quoted as saying, “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”
Hitler came to power by manipulating people and praying on his countrymen’s vulnerabilities. Hitler exemplifies the nasty side of leadership.
We must learn from history so that we do not repeat it. Here are some leadership skills I took away from my visit at the Holocaust Museum.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
The anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation is January 27th. The UN has designated it, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We must all remember the terrors that occurred not so long ago, so that they never happen again.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank
Originally published in The Tennessean.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/archetypefotografie/3821120232/”>Vincent_AF</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>