Relevance of the Holocaust Museum

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In the world, today Holocaust museums exist with the aim of preserving memories and remind people in the society of the evils that took place years ago. The Holocaust refers to the Nazi persecution, violence, and murder close to six million Jews (Carignan, 12). The Jewish museum was opened on September 15, 1997, in Manhattan Battery Park, New York (The Museum of Jewish Heritage). In 1981, the Task Force on the Holocaust put a recommendation about the importance of the museum, and a decade later, the museum was opened. Today the museum seeks to educate the contemporary population about the life of the Jews in Germany before, during, and after the Holocaust. The museum has three floors all representing the stages of the lives of the Jews in Germany. The first floor of the museum contains artifacts and exhibitions that describe the life of the Jews before the holocaust The (Museum of Jewish Heritage). The second floor includes pieces that encapsulate the experiences during the war that the Nazis wedged against the Jews (The Museum of Jewish Heritage). Finally, the third floor represents the renewal of the Jewish and the German relationship after the Holocaust. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the relevance some of the artifacts exhibited in the second floor of the museum to the Holocaust events.

 First, the floor contains a copy of Heinrich Himmler’s copy of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. Hitler’s Book Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is a vital element that contributed to the start of the Holocaust. I picked the book because of the name Adolf Hitler and the fact that I was on the second floor of the museum. Adolf Hitler is a controversial leader in history famous for his authoritarian style of leadership and a series of injustices against human beings. I believe the book contains essential information that shed light on the reasons that gave way to the rise of Nazism. According to the (Holocaust Encyclopedia), the book includes components rabid anti-Semitism, an aggressive foreign policy that sought to gain Lebensraum in Eastern Europe and a racist view of the world. The book sold over 12 million copies from 1925 to the summer of 1945.

Additionally, there were numerous translations of the book into more than 12 languages including Braille version for the blind in Germany (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The interpretation of the book and the million sales were some of the factors that led to the spread of racism and the perpetration of the Nazi violent acts against the Jews. Mien Kampf is an essential book in the history of the injustices perpetrated against the Jews and serves as a warning to the leaders in the modern world against writing texts that promote racism and violence.

The second exhibition in the museum is the presentation of the S.S. St. Louis. The displays include copies of the newspapers during that period, the photos of the family members of the passengers who were traveling by ship, a menu, a video presentation, and a ticket onto the boat. The artifact captures the mind and emotions of the audience in the representation of the ship as well as the video presentation that provides detailed information about the events that happened on the boat. The photos of the families who were on board, also appeal to the emotion of the audience and seeing their bright faces jolts the viewer to imagine and feel the pains the passenger went through.  The SS. St. Louis ship set to sail to Havana form Hamburg with 937 Jewish passengers who were fleeing the persecution in Germany (Wang) when the boat could not enter Havana since the Cuban government declared the temporary Visas as invalid. The United States also denied the ship entry into the country and forced to return to Europe after 12 days of waiting at the Havana Port. However, the Prime Minister and the king of Belgium allowed the ship to leave 200 passengers in the country, and the rest moved on to the Dutch, British, and French governments (Wang). The SS. St. Louis is a resonation of the troubled journey the Jews faced trying to find a haven and still the rejection they faced from different countries.

The third objects include money from Lodz and a ration card from Theresienstadt. I chose these items since they represent the lives of the Jews in the ghettos in Poland. After the rise of Nazism, the Jews had no place to stay, and the establishment of the ghettos seeks to control the Jews in Poland. More than 160000 Jews were forced to live in a small area of a city, separated by barbed wire fences (Holocaust Encyclopedia). Due to the significant number of people, living in a little space and poor infrastructure the conditions of life in the ghetto is horrible. The ghettos lack running water, sewer systems food, and are forced to do hard labor. The ration cad also illustrates how the German Nazis controlled the Jews by offering them small rations of food (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The card indicates that only people with the ration card could afford a meal. These objects are essential in the museum as they illustrate how the lives of the Jews deteriorated forcing them to live in ghettos and get food through ration cards. 

The fourth objects include the six pillars that contain photographs of the six million people killed in the Holocaust (Museum of Jewish Heritage). This is the most capturing element in the second floor of the museum. I selected the artifacts since it is one of the most shocking features of the Holocaust. A million images of different people on the walls of the pillars show that it was a severe event in history. The death of six million people due to the spread of racist and anti-Semitic ideologies highlights the evils that existed in the society at that period. The pillars act as a historical education for all the people in the world against the dangers of racism themes in society.

Additionally, the inclusion of the images of the six million individuals that lost their lives carries a huge impact even on people who did not experience the Holocaust period and for many generations to come. The pillars are an essential element in the museum as they act as a tribute to the lost souls and a symbol of remembrance. The pillars make the death of the six million people in Europe a unique historical incident. The ideology behind the Nazi propaganda is the most shocking since the pillar demonstrates that they did not only intend to get rid of the Jews in Europe but sought to eliminate an entire generation of people from the face of the earth. 

The fifth object is the empty Zyklon-B canisters. I chose the artifact since it is an integral part of the Holocaust. The items portray the inhumane treatment and methods that the Nazi in Germany used to kill the Jews. In 1942, the Nazi found a favorite tool that would help them in the extermination of the Jews (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The canister contained a pesticide with the Hydrogen cyanide chemicals. The Nazi used the compound to kill one million Jews in gas chambers at the Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps.  The canisters are significant in the museum, even though they evoke heavy feelings about the suffering of the Jews; they also demonstrate the inhumane nature of the Nazi in Germany.

The final artifact includes the videos on the personal and firsthand account of some of the Jews that lived during the Holocaust (Museum of Jewish Heritage). I chose the videos as essential elements since they do not only tell of the experiences but the audience can feel and relate to the emotions in the voice of the readers. The videos are relevant since they contain testimonies that live in the mind of the audience. Through the eyes and the sound of the victims, the viewer can fell that it was not an easy ordeal to go through. In addition, the videos help in making all the artifacts in the museum authentic. Some people might assume that the objects are just items collected to impress the audience; however, the testimony videos allow the viewer to relive the moments and the pain. Through the information, the audience looks at the event from the perspective of the Jews. The videos are relevant in the museum as they illustrate that people should not forget the events that happened during the Holocaust. Ignoring the facts will lead to the repetition of the same injustices. Instead, people should use the truth as references in future to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

 The second floor in the museum of the Jewish Heritage holds artifacts that make an individual relive the persecution, violence, and murder against the Jews. The Museum does provide not only historical evidence but also the testimonies of the Jews that make one look at the past events through the Jewish viewpoint and understand their frustrations and pain. The propaganda and the violence were only aimed at the Jewish people in Europe; the Nazi resolve was to finish all the Jews in Germany, and Europe. The artifacts in the exhibitions provide a lesson to the world today about the adverse effects of racial prejudices. Hitler’s book in the museums shows how his reflections and insecurities provided the Nazi with a few to spread hatred and violence against six million people. The museum is significant as it does not offer the world with information on the incident but also provides the world with reference materials that will guide them against making similar mistakes in the future. True to its name, the museum is critical in ensuring the Jewish history through and after a horrific occasion in history.

Works Cited

Carignan, Marjorie E. “Why Are There So Many Diverse Holocaust Museums?: A Journey through the Holocaust Museums of Five Nations.” (2012).

Holocaust Encyclopedia. “Introduction to the Holocaust” Holocaust Encyclopedia | United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2018,

Museum of Jewish Heritage. ”Stories Survive: Museum of Jewish Heritage 20th Anniversary.“ YouTube, 14 Sept. 2017,

The Museum of Jewish Heritage. Museum of Jewish Heritage ? A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 2018,

Wang, Amy. ”A ship full of refugees fleeing the Nazis once begged the U.S. for entry. They were turned back.“ The Washington Post, 2017,

November 13, 2023

Culture History


Nazi Germany

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Museum Holocaust

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