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Overview of Holocaust Remembrance Exhibitions,
United Nations Headquarters, New York

The Holocaust Programme helps to facilitate the organization of temporary exhibitions on Holocaust-related topics every year during the week of 27 January, which marks the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro opens the permanent exhibition on the Holocaust unveiled on the visitor's guided tour route in january 2008,
produced by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme

In January 2008, the Programme unveiled the permanent exhibit on “Holocaust and the United Nations" at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The exhibit, developed with the assistance of Holocaust scholars, presents an overview of the Holocaust in the context of World War II and the founding of the United Nations, and is seen by the 400,000 visitors who visit United Nations Headquarters annually.



Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations

This exhibition relates the unique stories of diplomats recognized by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, as Righteous Among the Nations. During the Holocaust, these diplomats recognized the danger and murder facing the Jews in the countries in which they served, at the hands of the Nazi Germans, with the help of their accomplices and allies. They chose to act according to their conscience, and tried to save as many Jewish men, women and children as possible, mainly by providing them with passports, visas and travel permits. The exhibition is sponsored by Permanent Missions of Israel, Peru and Portugal to the United Nations. Secretary-General will make opening remarks and Stéphane Dujarric will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. 

Lives Cut Short- Seeking Refuge During the Holocaust: The Short Life of Ruth Maier

Through photographs and diary extracts, this exhibition tells the story of Ruth Maier. Born in Vienna in 1920, Ruth began keeping a diary when she turned 13. She recorded her everyday life, and the increasing persecution of Jews after the “Anschluss” of 1938. Ruth witnessed the violent antisemitism of the November Pogrom, 1938. Forced to flee Austria, Ruth found refuge in Norway. In Norway she completed her schooling and revealed her talents in drawing, painting and writing.  She shared her thoughts about life in occupied Norway, her love and poetry in her diaries but now she wrote in her new language, Norwegian. However, she could not escape antisemitism or the reach of the Nazis. In 1942 Ruth was arrested in front of her friends and deported from Nazi-occupied Norway to Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945). The Nazis murdered Ruth on 1 December 1942. Since 2014 Ruth Maier’s diaries have been part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, secured at The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. The exhibition is jointly sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Austria and Norway to the United Nations. 


The Last Swiss Holocaust Survivors

his exhibit tells the stories of individuals who are among the last survivors of the Holocaust and how they carried on with their lives in Switzerland after the Second World War. The large-scale portraits by Swiss photographer Beat Mumenthaler help shape each person’s unique story while the videos by Eric Bergkraut preserve the unique memories of the survivors, many of whom endured life in concentration camps. The images help the viewer go more deeply into each individual’s experience. The exhibit was shown for the first time in Berlin during the official handover ceremony as Switzerland assumed the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2017. It is sponsored by Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations.

Survivors, Victims and Perpetrators

This exhibition will give the viewer an opportunity to reflect on the different dimensions and perspectives of this history by highlighting the role of the perpetrators, the Nazis and their collaborators, in contrast to the images and stories of the victims and survivors. In looking at large scale photographs of survivors, they remind us that we all have choices and decisions to make to contribute to the world we live in. The Wannsee Conference, held on 20 January 1942 in Berlin, played a key role in creating the killing machinery of the Nazi state. The protocol of the Wannsee Conference, featured in the exhibition, reveals the plan to persecute and murder European Jewry. It is sponsored by Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations. The exhibit is on display through 28 February 2018.

The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust

The exhibition outlines the impact of the Holocaust on children, and showcases an educational initiative called The Butterfly Project developed by Holocaust Museum Houston to teach this history to young people, encourage them to remember the 1.5 million mostly Jewish children who perished and to stand up against hatred and prejudice. The exhibition is presented by Holocaust Museum Houston of the United States, in collaboration with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. The exhibit was on display through 26 February 2018.



"Education and Remembrance. The Holocaust in Romania"

The exhibition titled Education and Remembrance. The Holocaust in Romania illustrates the Holocaust commemorative and educational events organised in Romania during the Romanian presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016. The exhibition highlights Holocaust education programmes organized by the Romanian authorities together with civil society and international organisations for members of the civil service such as policemen, magistrates and teachers, as well as activities that engaged students. The exhibition includes a brief history of the Holocaust in Romania with the special focus on the pogrom in Iași in 1941 and the brave stories of some Romanian Righteous Among the Nations, which are meant to inspire young generations in protecting universal and democratic values. Produced by the National Institute for Romanian Holocaust Studies "Elie Wiesel", the exhibition was on view from 16 to 27 January 2017. 

Ion Jinga (at lectern), Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, speaks at the opening. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

"State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda"

The exhibition State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda examines how the Nazis used propaganda to win broad voter support in Germany’s young democracy after the First World War, implement radical programmes under the party’s dictatorship in the 1930s, and justify war and mass murder. The exhibition emphasises why the issue of propaganda matters and challenges visitors to question, analyse, and seek the truth. The exhibit is curated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and will be on view through March 2017. 

Press Release: United Nations Headquarters to Host Official Opening of Poster Exhibition "State of Deception: the Power of Nazi Propaganda"



"Holocaust by Bullets"

The exhibition "Holocaust by Bullets" presents the results of hundreds of days of fieldwork that enabled Yahad-In Unum to collect evidence of massacres during the Second World War in order to return memory and dignity to Jewish victims. It also underscores the "Holocaust by Bullets" as a precursor and model for mass crimes today. The exhibit is organized by the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.

Father Patrick Desbois speaks ay the opening of the exhibition. UN Photo

Press Release: Formal Opening Ceremony of Holocaust Exhibition to be Held at United Nations Headquarters, 25 January

"Life after Survival"

The exhibition shows how a little international group of UN volunteers - the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Team 182 - worked for the benefit of young Holocaust survivors in Kloster Indersdorf, where in 1945 they set up the first international children's center for unaccompanied children in the American zone of postwar Germany. They provided food, shelter, medical care and helped young people reconnect with their relatives or migrate to Israel.

Holocaust survivor Shmuel Reinstein speaks at the opening of the exhibition "Life after Survival".

The exhibition is organized by the Concentration Camp Memorial Site Flossenbürg in Germany.  It is endorsed by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in cooperation with the non-governmental organizations Heimatverein Indersdorf and Lagergemeinschaft Dachau.

Press Release: Exhibition on Life after Survival of Holocaust to Open at United Nations Headquarters, 26 January


"Forbidden Art"

The “Forbidden Art” exhibition presents the story of twenty works of arts made illegally and at great risk by prisoners of the Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945). Each of the photographs shown in the exhibition is accompanied by an historical commentary and excerpts from archival accounts. The artwork is built around two themes. The first theme lays out the reality of life in the camp: scenes depicting the functioning of the camp and portraits of prisoners. The second theme focuses on the types of escape created by the camp prisoners: caricatures, albums containing greetings and fairy tales prisoners wrote for their children. Partners include The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, The Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations and The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools.

Press Release: Holocaust Exhibition to Open at United Nations Headquarters on 21 January


"Shoah - How Was It Humanly Possible?"

The exhibition, Yad Vashem’s first traveling exhibition recounting the comprehensive story of the Shoah, deals with major historical aspects of the Holocaust, beginning with Jewish life in pre-Holocaust Europe and ending with the 1945 liberation of Nazi concentration and death camps across the continent.

The exhibition opened at United Nations Headquarters on 26 January, marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945), and the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Partners include Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority; the American Society for Yad Vashem; and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the event. UN Photo/Evan Schneider



“A Remembrance of the Holocaust in Hungary:
70th Anniversary Exhibition”

This exhibition presented a historical account of the Holocaust in Hungary in observance of the 70th anniversary of the deportation and extermination of the Hungarian Jews. Partners include: the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice; the Hungarian American Coalition; the Hungary Initiatives Foundation and the Carl Lutz Foundation. 

Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungrary to the United Nations, delivers remarks at the opening.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider

  • Speakers at the exhibit opening:

    Mr. Maximilian Teleki, President, Hungarian American Coalition

    Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

    H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations

    Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

    Dr. Tamás Fellegi, President, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation

    Prayer by Rabbi

"When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness"

Produced by the March of the Living International, this exhibition documents the experiences of students while visiting the former Nazi concentration camps established in German-occupied Poland during the Second World War. Through photographs, personal stories and interactions with Holocaust survivors, viewers learn about the horrors of the Holocaust. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, opened the exhibition.

Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information,
speaks at the opening of the exhibit at UN Headquarters

Press Release: Exhibition to Open at Headquarters on 28 January as Part of United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Activities.


Press Release: Rescue during the Holocaust highlighted in two Exhibits held at UNHQ for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.