Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Holocaust Memorial Museum + Google Earth

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has created several layers for Google Earth: one concentrating on the Darfur Crisis, a time line of concentration camps in Europe, and a Google Earth interface to the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

Zoom down and see what a burned village looks like from above, the vast tent cities of people displaced from their homes, and photographs on the ground of refugees struggling to survive. Read eyewitness testimony of atrocities in attacked villages.
The Museum is using Google Earth to map key Holocaust sites with historic content from its collections, powerfully illustrating the enormous scope and impact of the Holocaust.
Each place name links to a featured article with related historical photographs, testimony clips, maps, artifacts, and film footage.

The Holocaust of World War II was a constant theme both in my public school classes and during my Jewish education. When I was Bat Mitzvahed at 12, my parents took me to New York, where we visited every Holocaust memorial in NYC. When my Jewish summer camp went to D.C. for a week, the focus was again Holocaust memorials.

While I appreciated the history of my heritage, the constant barrage was a little desensitizing. I became more interested in other cases of genocide: Gypsies, Pagans, Kurds; I was interested in the persecution of peoples other than my own.

In high school, with youthful idealism and indignation (that was only 4 years ago…) I ranted against the hypocrisy of the post-WWII slogan, “Never again.”

This personal history is what makes the USHMM/Google Earth package strike a chord with me. It is beautifully crafted and so powerful that I couldn’t absorb it all at once. I had to keep taking some time to think about what I’d read and seen, before going on. I really hope that this package can drive home the atrocities that are being committed.

My only gripe is that the package requires Google Earth. If they had found a way to integrate the package with Google Maps as well, I think it would reach far more people. But, it takes baby steps to change the world.

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