The memorial museum is at the heart of the Holocaust Centre. It reminds visitors that knowing what happened in the Holocaust is the first necessary step to understanding it.
It aims to tell a story of people and how their lives are affected by history.
It is designed with younger people in mind, as some 60% of the visitors to the Centre are under 16 years old
Jewish Life in Europe
The exhibition begins with a collection of faces, places and ways of life lived by Jews right across the European continent prior to the Nazi period.It then goes on to outline the long history of Jews in Europe and the tragic parallel history of antisemitism.
The visitor is then taken through the development of National Socialism and its implementation of race ideology in the Third Reich, in particular the brutal application of antisemitic laws. The exhibition depicts the immigration crisis, Kristallnacht, the Evian Conference and the Kindertransport, before a two-gallery section describing Europe’s occupation by the Nazis.
Ghettos and Concentration Camps
The first gallery focuses on the period of ghettoisation – the starvation, forced labour and degrading circumstances of the ghettos in central and Eastern Europe. It then moves on to explain the emergence of the Final Solution, following the occupation of the Soviet Union and the activities of the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units). The different types of camp and different ways of enforcing the rule of terror are described with specific reference to Auschwitz and Treblinka as sites of mass death.
In the final two sections, the exhibition explains the difficulties and pain of survival following the liberation of the camps. It also reflects upon some of the important lessons to be learnt from those who had the courage to care during those dark years.
“It is not often that I am speechless. However, after my visit yesterday I was completely overcome by what I saw. I am fully aware of matters dealing with the Holocaust, but the dedication, care and beauty of what you have created is fantastic.”
Victor Huglin, Visitor
Of the Berlin street: “At this point, I felt things really clicked into place and the children began to understand day-to-day life for Jews.” The carriage was engaging and poignant; children really got to see what happened in reality, but in a sensitive way.” “The home was atmospheric and children got a real feel for life in Germany in the 1930s.”