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World War II & The Holocaust

Welcome to Museum of Family History's newest presentation about World War II and the Holocaust. Within this presentation you will currently find three new exhibitions: "Persecution and Flight: The Nazi Campaign Against the Jews," "The Jewish Ghetto, and "Never Forget: Visions of the Nazi Camps."

Each exhibition is an integral part of the Museum's very modest attempt to present evidence of the events that devastated the once burgeoning Jewish population of Europe before the advent of the Second World War.

The content of each of these exhibitions may differ in subject matter, yet each tell of events that befell the Jewish population around the same time period, i.e. from the 1930s and the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, to the time of the liberation of the many concentration camps. Also, each exhibition is similar in construction and presentation, e.g. in all three there are displayed photographs that visually represent the tragic sufferings and deprivations of the Jewish populace before and during the Second World War.

Though many of us may have experienced anti-Semitism, most of us have never lived in a ghetto, nor have we ever been incarcerated in a concentration camp. Thus for each of us, the photographs displayed in these exhibitions serve as a "window in time." Whether it be a photograph, a postcard or personal testimony from a Survivor, each piece of evidence provides us with an opportunity to learn, to try to understand, even imagine if we dare. When we gaze intently on a particular photograph, we may be affected by the many soulful expressions of those who are portrayed, the many who may have suffered so greatly. We thus act as silent observers as we look back at this horrific time in Jewish history.

In this exhibition some video testimony is also presented, each given by a man or woman who survived the War. It is one thing to read a written account of one's life experiences as told in the first- or third-person, but when one hears such oral testimony uttered by a Survivor, and senses the timbre of their voice this has a special meaning. Such personal accounts may affect us emotionally in a way that a simple photograph may not.

The Museum is grateful to three magnificent and highly esteemed organizations for their content, not to mention those individuals who have graciously permitted the Museum to include their testimony within these exhibitions. Such organizations include the United States National Archives, United States Memorial Holocaust Museum and Yad Vashem, whose collections of historical photographs and Survivor testimony serve as lasting monuments to the collective history of the Jewish people.

The Museum would like especially to recognize the Florence and Lawrence Spungen Family Foundation, which has given the Museum permission to include the content of its Holocaust Postal Collection within its various exhibitions. According to the Foundation website:

In 2007, Danny Spungen, a collector and philatelist, on behalf on the foundation, acquired arguably one of the best known collections of Holocaust materials related to stamps, covers, postcards, letters, bank note forgeries, and manuscripts from concentration camps & Jewish ghettos. [This exhibition was] formally known as "NAZI Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe."

More can be read about the history of this exhibition and the Foundation by clicking here.


Advertisement for anti-Semitc propaganda exhibition, Munich, 1937.

A traveling, anti-Semitic propaganda exhibition titled "Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew)" opened in Munich on November 8, 1937. Jews were portrayed as moral degenerates in exhibits, lectures, books, and posters -- alternatively as money-grubbing capitalists or as Communists conspirators, either way bent on world domination.

As always, The Museum of Family History welcomes more such material from the public, whether it be in the form of written material, photographs, audio or video, and more. The Museum is "the People's Museum," so to speak, and always looks forward to the participation of those who are interested in honoring and preserving the history and culture of the Jewish people and the Jewish family in particular.

If you're willing to submit copies of material that might be useful to the Museum, please contact us by clicking here. If you have any questions as to the usefulness of material that you feel is appropriate for the Museum, and that others would be interested in, please contact us.

The Museum of Family History hopes that you will find these three new exhibitions educative and enlightening; that you perhaps will learn or feel something you haven't learned or felt before, and that you will, if at all possible, speak sincerely with and listen to a family member who might have their own interesting story to tell, whether it be about their lives during World War II or at any other time that was meaningful to them.

Once these three exhibitions have run their course, much of their content will be integrated into the Museum's Permanent Collection, within its "World War II and the Holocaust" wing.

The Museum strives to offer more such exhibitions, in each instance serving an educative purpose or as an opportunity to further one's research into one's own family, giving to all who are or will be interested in the future an opportunity to learn more about modern Jewish history in a non-academic setting.

Steven Lasky
Director and Founder
Museum of Family History





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