The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach 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. 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.
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Melissa Fleming (at podium), Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, speaks at the opening of the exhibition "Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers". Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Virtual exhibition "Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and the Sinti"
This exhibition examines the Nazi genocide against the Roma and Sinti by uncovering the stories of some of those affected by the genocide. The exhibition draws upon The Wiener Holocaust Library's collections of material on the genocide to uncover the story of this little-known aspect of Nazi persecution. Through the stories of the victims and survivors of the Nazi campaign against the Roma, the exhibition traces the history of persecution and mass murder at the hands of the Nazis, and the struggle after the war for recognition of the atrocities committed against the Roma. The exhibition is organized by the Wiener Holocaust Library with support from The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.
The exhibition "Seeing Auschwitz" challenges the viewer’s understanding of the largest killing centre in human history. How Auschwitz is ‘seen’ is informed by a relatively small number of photographs taken from an even smaller number of sources. Together, the pictures are vital evidence of the Nazis’ crimes. Through a display of photographs taken by perpetrators and in one instance, by the victims themselves, the exhibition encourages the viewer to explore more fully what the photographs reveal about the photographers, and their intentions, and how this informs the viewers’ understanding of the meaning of “Auschwitz”. The exhibition was created and curated by Musealia, Spain, in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland.
"Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers"
This exhibition examines Jewish historians and academics of various nationalities and backgrounds who documented and safeguarded evidence of the actions taken against the Jewish people during the Holocaust and lobbied to draw attention to what was happening in Nazi-occupied Europe. By so doing, these historians and academics resisted the Nazi plan to destroy all Jewish people and culture and pioneered the establishment of an international legal framework accompanying the establishment of the United Nations. The first generation of Holocaust researchers shaped the foundation of our current knowledge of the Holocaust. The exhibition was curated by the Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee-Conference in Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin branch of the Touro College and the Wiener Library in London. It has been sponsored by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.
"Some Were Neighbours: Choice, Human Behaviour, and the Holocaust"
The exhibition "Some were Neighbours" addresses one of the central questions of the Holocaust: how did it happen? The exhibition examines the role of ordinary people in the Holocaust, and the variety of motives that influenced individual choices. These influences often reflect fear, indifference, antisemitism, career concerns, community standing, peer pressure, or chances for material gain. The exhibition considers individuals who did not give in to the opportunities and temptations to betray their fellow human beings, reminding us that there is an alternative to complicity in evil acts - even in extraordinary times. It is important to look back at this watershed event in history to see what it can teach us about the past, and to see what it can teach us about ourselves. The Holocaust reminds us that the unthinkable is always possible. It also reminds us that individuals always have more power than they realize - for better or for worse. The exhibition was created and curated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"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 was sponsored by Permanent Missions of Israel, Peru and Portugal to the United Nations.
"Lives Cut Short- Seeking Refuge During the Holocaust: The Short Life of Ruth Maier"
Through photographs and diary extracts, the 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 was jointly sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Austria and Norway to the United Nations.
"The Last Swiss Holocaust Survivors"
This 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 gives the viewer an opportunity to reflect on the different dimensions and perspectives of the 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 the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations.
"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.
"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 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.
"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.
"Holocaust by Bullets"
The exhibition traces the decades-long effort by Father Patrick Desbois and Yahad-In Unum to document the murder by shooting of more than 2 million Jews and Roma that took place throughout Eastern Europe by the Nazi mobile killing units, the Elnzatsgruppen, from 1941 to 1944. The exhibition's display at United Nations was organzied by the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.
"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. 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.
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.
"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.
Exhibition “Holocaust of the Roma People”
During the opening, Under-Secretary-General Gallach said, “It is my honour and privilege to welcome you to the opening of this powerful exhibit marking the tragedy of the Roma population during the Holocaust. This exhibit is a testimony to events of great and terrifying significance, events that resulted in the deaths of millions. The Holocaust holds universal lessons and reminds us all that human beings are capable of great cruelty, but also of great bravery, compassion and strength.” She also noted, “The Roma and Sinti communities have long fought to have their suffering recognized, and I am pleased that we continue to raise awareness with the opening of this exhibit today.”
“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.
"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.
"The World Knew -- Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity"
This exhibit lays out the captivating background of Polish native Jan Kozielewski, who under the assumed name of Jan Karski served as a courier for the Polish Underground State and informed Allied leaders about Nazi Germany’s ongoing extermination of the Jews. Karski was a Roman Catholic who later attained U.S. citizenship and was named an honorary citizen of Israel and a Righteous Among the Nations. The exhibit has been produced by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
"Whoever Saves a Single Life … Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust"
This exhibit showcases some of those rare but exceedingly important instances where people fought to safeguard their Jewish fellow citizens during the Holocaust. In a time of overwhelming death and destruction, rescuers did not stand by silently. They chose another way, and their bravery offers us a glimmer of hope. It shows us that people are able to make choices and act on them, even in the face of powerful constraints, offering us a lesson on the universal value of the preservation of human life, human dignity, and human rights. It shows us that people are able to make choices and act on them, even in the face of powerful constraints, offering us a lesson on the universal value of the preservation of human life, human dignity and human rights. The exhibit has been produced by The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.
"With Me Are Six Million Accusers: The Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem"
The United Nations, in partnership with the State of Israel, marked the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, the mastermind behind the systematic mass deportation and murder of European Jews during the Holocaust. The exhibition titled “With Me Are 6 Million Accusers: The Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem” was produced by the Museums Division of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. It includes photographs, newspaper clippings, works of art and original film footage of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who played a crucial role in the practical execution of a master plan to systematically concentrate and deport millions of European Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. International media coverage of the 1961 court hearing in Jerusalem, which included testimony by Holocaust survivors, captured public attention around the globe and was considered a turning point in Holocaust history. The exhibit has been made available courtesy of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
"The Face of the Ghetto"
More than 100 people turned out at the UN Headquarters in late January to view the openings of three exhibits meant to recognize the millions of people whom perished during the Holocaust. Part of the Organization’s annual week of activities that culminate with a memorial ceremony each 27 January.
The extraordinary work of Jewish photographers in the Polish ghetto of Lodz can be seen by the public for the first time with “The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1944”. The exhibition was curated by the Topography of Terror Foundation in Berlin, in cooperation with the National Archives in Lodz. Even experts in the field hardly knew about this collection of images, which lays out the persecution of the Jews in the Lizmannstadt Ghetto. While researching in the National Archives in Lodz, historian Dr. Ingo Loose and curator Dr. Thomas Lutz came across 27 photo albums. Inside were about 12,000 contact prints in small format, sorted thematically and taken by Jewish photographers at the request of the ghetto's Jewish Council.
"Monument of Good Deeds and The Holocaust - Dreams and Hopes of Children during the Holocaust "
On Thursday, 26 January, two exhibits in keeping with this year’s theme of “Children and the Holocaust” opened at the United Nations. “Monument of Good Deeds: Dreams and Hopes of Children during the Holocaust”, brought to life the stories of 13 children who had experienced the Holocaust by displaying their portraits, artwork, and toys. Curated by Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, this exhibit helps viewers see how these children preserved despite the war in which they lived their daily lives.
"The Holocaust - Keeping the Memory Alive"
The hopes and dreams of young people who suffered during this terrible period was also expressed through the second exhibition, “The Holocaust – Keeping the Memory Alive”. This exhibit showcased the top 16 entries of the Design Student Poster Contest 2012. The 16 top posters were created by design students from the Czech Republic, Israel and France. The contest drew submissions from more than 300 young artists, with support from the United Nations information centres and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. The contest was held in partnership with Yad Vashem, le Mémorial de la Shoah, the European Shoah Legacy Institute and the United Nations Holocaust Programme.
"The Memories Live On"
The exhibition displays drawings of the Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945), found in a sketchbook that belonged to an unknown prisoner in the camp. The drawings, found on the grounds of the memorial site in Birkenau in 1947 by a Polish Auschwitz survivor, depict the fate of the Jews from arrival at the camp to death in the gas chambers. This exhibition also places emphasis on the need to keep these memories alive by sharing them with younger generations, and presents written memories of survivors along with the thoughts and feelings expressed by young people upon learning the facts of this history. The exhibition was sponsored by the International Auschwitz Committee in Germany, the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the International Youth Meeting Centre Oswiecim/Auschwitz in Poland, the Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand in Germany and the United States Mission to the United Nations.
"Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life"
This exhibition, sponsored by Mémorial de la Shoah, documents the persecution of Jews in occupied France during World War II through the excerpts of a journal kept by Hélène Berr, a Jewish woman who died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945.
"Generations: Survival and the Legacy of Hope"
This exhibition explores the impact of the Holocaust on four families across three generations. The Oppenheimer, Wallfisch, Helfglott and Halter families discuss the effects of the Holocaust on their lives and on today’s world. Their legacy is deeply personal and painful, but has a compelling universal message for humanity that one can survive and thrive with the promise of future generations to follow, carrying the traditions and beliefs and wisdom. Through their stories, this exhibition stresses the importance of keeping the legacy of Holocaust survivors alive for the sake of future generations, particularly those who have experienced similar persecution. The exhibition is a joint project of the United Kingdom Holocaust Centre, the San Diego Jewish Cultural Centre, and Conscience Display, and was co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.
"Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints"
The exhibition, sponsored by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, displays the blueprints prepared by the Nazis for the construction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and demonstrates that Auschwitz-Birkenau was part of the Nazis’ “Final Solution”, the plan to annihilate Europe’s Jews. The Nazis produced hundreds of technical sketches of various building sites, including detailed sketches of the gas chambers and crematoriums. More than a million people were murdered during the camp’s operation period from June 1940 to January 1945, most of whom were Jews.
"Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race"
Displaying objects, photographs, documents, and historic film footage, this exhibition describes the Nazi regime’s campaign to "cleanse" German society of individuals viewed as biological threats to the nation's "health”, aiming to change the genetic makeup of the population through measures known as “racial hygiene” or “eugenics”. Jews, Roma, the disabled and other minorities were among the groups considered as “biological threats”, and were subjected to forced sterilization and murder, which culminated in the Holocaust. The exhibition was sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial.
Press Release: United Nations to Observe Holocaust Remembrance Day 27 January, Events Include Memorial Ceremony, Exhibits, Film Screening
"Besa: A Code of Honor, Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust"
This is a photo exhibition featuring the accounts of Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Their courageous assistance to the Jews was grounded in Besa, a code of honour, which still serves as the highest ethical code in the country. The exhibition was sponsored by Yad Vashem and the Permanent Mission of Albania to the UN.
"Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest"
This exhibition recounts the courageous actions of the Swiss diplomat, Carl Lutz, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to the Nazi death camps by placing them under Swiss protection and issuing them certificates for emigration. The exhibition was sponsored by the Carl Lutz Foundation in Budapest and the Permanent Missions of Hungary and Switzerland to the UN.
"The Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma and Present Day Racism in Europe"
The exhibition documents the plight of the Roma and Sinti minorities in Central and Eastern Europe during the Holocaust. It features personal testimonies and family photographs. The exhibition was sponsored by the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Berlin, and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations.
"Art of the Survivors"
This exhibition features paintings and sculptures by four Holocaust survivors – Jospeh Bau, David Friedman, Henny de Brito and Hanka Kornfeld-Marder - who shared their experiences during the Holocaust through their art work.
"No Child’s Play - Remembrance and Beyond"
This special photo exhibition, sponsored by Yad Vashem – the Holocaust the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Authority (Jerusalem), opens a window into the personal stories and lives of children in the Holocaust by presenting toys, games, artwork, diaries and poems written by children. Approximately one and half million Jewish children were murdered in the Holocaust.