Immediately upon Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, anti-Semitism, known as the longest hatred, hatred of the Jews, was established as a foundation in the hearts and minds of his followers. Nazi racial ideology viewed Jews as “parasitic vermin worthy only of eradication,” and unleashed violent persecution and policies of direct hatred against them through:

  • Lies, propaganda, boycotts, and public humiliation
  • Removal from education, political and social life
  • Anti-Jewish legislation – Nuremberg Race Laws – 1935
  • Euthanasia – murder of “inferior, handicapped, useless eaters”
  • Confiscation of property and assets
  • Forced wearing of the yellow star
  • Rise of Hitler Youth – 90% of Germany’s youth
  • Kristallnacht – November 9-10, 1938 – government sponsored nationwide pogrom


Other victims of the Nazis included political dissidents, Gypsies, disabled, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Thousands of Jews were forced to immigrate and flee in search of refuge, but most nations of the world turned them away.

Rescue Collections include:

  • Kindertransport – 1938-1940 – Great Britain’s rescue of over 10,000 Jewish children
  • St. Louis – May 1939 – “Voyage to Doom” of refugees who were not accepted by United States or Cuba and were eventually admitted by four European nations
  • Hidden children – thousands of Jewish children survived this brutal carnage because they were hidden
  • 1.5 million children were murdered by the Nazis.
  • Anne Frank was in hiding for two years; she kept diaries that are read worldwide. She died diseased in a concentration camp at 15 years old.

September 1, 1939–Hitler Invaded Poland – World War II began…

Ghettos were a central step in the Nazi process of control, dehumanization, and mass murder of the Jews. Human slavery, brutality, filth, starvation, deprivation, disease, and overcrowded conditions in over a thousand ghettos throughout Europe were the breeding grounds of death–the Nazis called this process “natural wastage.” Millions of Jews were deported on trains to their deaths in Nazi killing centers.

Ghettos and Deportation Collections include:

  • Warsaw Ghetto Collection
  • Children of the Ghettos
  • Deportation Trains and Roundups
  • Ghetto Resistance – Partisans, Smuggling, Diaries

The railroad system was one of the largest collaborators with the Nazis in deporting millions of Jews to ghettos and concentration camps; the system was operated by over 1.4 million workers.

Drancy Concentration Camp was located in the suburbs of Paris, France; over 64,000 Jews were deported to death camps and the first transport of over 4,000 children to the gas chambers at Auschwitz came from Drancy.

1933-1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt – U.S. President

“On November 25, 1942...The New York Times carried the first authenticated report that the Nazis had established a policy to exterminate Jews...The story of the slaughter of the Jews–a report confirmed by the State Department that more than two million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had already been systematically murdered...[report] appeared on page 10.”

On October 6, 1943, 400 rabbis stood on the steps of the United States Capitol and begged America for help… “America was our last great hope…” – 1943 “America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference” - PBS

World War II Collections include:

  • U.S. Military Generals
  • Pearl Harbor – 1941
  • War Times Conferences
  • U.S. WWII Memorial
  • Iwo Jima
  • Pentagon – completed in 1941 to house headquarters of US Department of Defense
  • Albert Einstein – fled Germany in1934, expressed public outrage at Hitler, and warned what was coming. Einstein never returned to Germany, moved to the United States, and wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt a personal letter that resulted in the Manhattan Project, the development of the atomic bomb.

“I do not know what we can do to save the Jews in Europe…but I know that we will be the sufferers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting ourselves to correct them.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, 1943

The "Final Solution" was the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews. The Nazis established over 20,000 camps to carry out this calculated program of mass extermination.  At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, 15 top Nazi bureaucrats met for 1 ½ hours to coordinate the full implementation of the “Final Solution.” Einsatzgruppen, specialized mobile killing units, killed 1.5 million men, women, and children, and 3 million more were exterminated in the concentration camp system.

Collections include:

  • Dehumanization
  • Arrival and Selection
  • Camp Uniforms
  • Slave Labor - Corporations
  • Gas Chambers
  • Medical Experiments
  • Auschwitz – Largest Nazi Death Camp
  • The Auschwitz Album – this is the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, depicting dehumanization and extermination through selection, registration, looting, delousing, slave labor, and Zyklon B gassing of 440,000 Hungarian Jews in 1944.

Hitler and his Nazi regime occupied 22 nations of Europe and implemented anti-Jewish policies and programs of mass annihilation in all of these nations; the Danish resistance to the “Final Solution” was known as the “Danish Solution,” the rescue of Denmark’s Jews.

“The things I saw beggar description… The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering… I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda.” – General Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 15, 1945


Liberation and Aftermath Collections include:

  • “The Last Witnesses” – exact replicas of artifacts from the Holocaust
  • Shoes, clothing, eyeglasses
  • Rescuers
  • “Righteous Among the Nations” – Gentiles recognized by Israel who saved Jews during the Holocaust
  • Holocaust Survivor Collections
  • Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) – Nazi hunter who brought over 1,200 Nazis to justice
  • Elie Wiesel – Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize laureate
  • Displaced Persons’ Camps
  • Nuremberg Trials Collection

Upon hearing of the mass slaughter of the Jews in 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill expressed, “We are in the presence of a crime without a name." The crimes of the Holocaust were given a legal name, genocide, which refers to: violent crimes or actions committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

“The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.” – Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson, Nuremberg Trials, 1945

As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence:

“The Jewish people arose in the land of Israel and it was here that its spiritual, religious and political character was shaped. Here they attained their sovereignty, and here they bequeathed to the world their national and cultural treasures, and the most eternal of books.” – David Ben-Gurion in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, 1948

Collections on Israel include:

  • The Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temples, Synagogues, and Jerusalem
  • Torah Scrolls, Rabbis
  • Statehood of Israel – May 14, 1948
  • Operation Entebbe and Israeli Defense Forces
  • Israel Today – Genesis 12:3 and Genesis 17:8
  • Lion and Lamb – Isaiah 11:6
  • President Shimon Peres
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 
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