Washington DC: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When I visited the Imperial War Museum in London a year ago, I was moved by the Holocaust special exhibit. That was the first time that I learned and understood what the Holocaust was about and how the horrible events helped shape the world today and taught us that we need to respond to cruelty of man. I wanted Suanne to see it too and included this museum as part of our itinerary.


There are actually many Holocaust Museums in the world and surprisingly most of them are located in the US. The one in Washington DC is called the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which was quite newly opened during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. While the US government funded the building and operations, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is funded largely by private sources, mainly Jewish I presume.


It is quite a large facility with a total of 5 floors of exhibits and other facilities. As expected, there is a security check before one is allowed into the building although the line moves very fast.


Other than the lobby, one is not allowed to take pictures. I am not sure why though. I mean, these are all static displays. Too bad I can’t share much with you on our visit there.

Admission is free to the Museum but you will need a timed pass for the Permanent Exhibition. Despite giving timed pass, the Permanent Exhibition is the most crowded of all and it’s close to impossible to really enjoy it. The Permanent Exhibit is broken down into three chapters over three floors. It started describing the life before the rise of Nazism and followed to the Final Solution where millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other “undesirables” were systematically exterminated. If not for the crowd, it would have been a good museum to learn about the holocaust.


We caught a show on the holocaust in the theater. The other exhibits are not as good as the Permanent Exhibit actually.


We had our brunch at the Museum Cafe which is located just outside the building. What surprised us was that they even have security checks for the cafe! They not only ask you to open your bags kind of checks … they subject the bags to explosive scanning.


We are not familiar with Jewish food and so picked them quite randomly. The above is the Matzoh Soup which I am not sure exactly what it is. It looked like a large meatball but it’s not meat. It was alright — a bit on the bland side.


We also ordered a couple of Knishes. It is very much like Char Siew Pau if you ask me. There is a flaky outer dough with different type of fillings. The one above is the potato Knishe.


The Broccoli Cheddar Knishe tastes better, mainly because of the cheese. Knishes are alright but frankly I won’t go out of my way to get them. I heard that it’s a very popular Jewish snack.


Bill came up to just under $16.

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  1. mocalala

    Jewish food never catches on in the States. However, I like their jelly donuts. Bagel is too condensed for me.

    They did a poll before. The most popular ethnic food in California is Mexican food. Thai food is second; Japanese food is third; Chinese is fourth.

    It’s understandable Mexican food is the first because of the large hispanic population in Southern California. Second is Thai, is that a surprise? There’s not too many people there, certainly not more than Chinese descent people. But Thai food is very popular, that sort of tells you Californians’ taste bud.

    Japanese is third, people love it because it’s healthier, guilt free food. Good old Chinese food will always have a place, never go out of style.

  2. RobynT

    It *is* interesting that most Holocaust museums are in the U.S. I wonder if it is because of Jewish immigrants? Or something to do with the U.S. role in WWII?

    One of my white American friends saw me eating udon at a Japanese restaurant and thought it looked like matzoh ball soup. But it was not very good udon. I think she meant just that it was clear broth with some stuff in it.

    Also, have you seen this site: http://www.kaleberg.com/dumplings/dumplings.html. Your comparison of knishes and char siu bao reminded me of it.

  3. Chiara

    Hi there! I’ve been following your blog for a while! I love the restaurant reviews, but unfortunately I live in CA so I don’t get to enjoy what you guys have up in BC… I like the descriptions and pictures though 🙂

    As for Matzoh, it comes in two forms. One is matza
    “bread,” I use quotation marks because matza is unleavened bread, eaten during Passover to remember how God took the Jews out of Egypt. It’s unleavened because the Jews didn’t have time to make leavened bread and so every Passover, they eat matza and unleavened items only (for most Jews, observant or not, they eat unleavened items each Passover).

    Matzoh ball soup that you had, is basically matza meal. It has the consistency of bread crumbs. Here in the US, they sell them in boxes and are usually cheap during Passover season. You have to add an egg and oil to one pouch of matza meal, let it sit in the fridge, and shape into balls. Then it has to be cooked in really hot water (rolling boil) before it’s taken out and cooked some more in chicken broth. Good matza ball soup is really tasty! Most of the time matza soup isn’t served in homemade chicken soup. But, we make our chicken soup “chinese” style (with ginger and green onions) and then dunk the matza ball in. Good with rice too 🙂 My mother-in-law even loves it for an occasional frugal but filling meal at home.

  4. mbe

    Aaaa… knishes as Jewish char siu bao .. that made my day. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection!

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