—Extended to May 2021, award-winning exhibition features more than 700 objects and 400 photographs on display in North America for the first time, including a shofar secretly blown in Auschwitz and a collection of 10 original artifacts from the Anne Frank House¬—
—Timed tickets available at mjhnyc.org—
New York, NY – The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, which recently reopened its doors to visitors as the City and State relaxed pandemic restrictions, today announced there are only six months left to see the internationally acclaimed and popular exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., before it moves on to Kansas City. The exhibition will be on view at the Battery Park City-based Museum through May 2, 2021.
Produced by the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, the groundbreaking exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is the largest ever on Auschwitz with more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs. This week, the European Commission and Europa Nostra named Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. as one of its prestigious Grand Prix laureates.
The exhibition has been extended twice since it was opened in May 2019, due to the record number of visitors – more than 168,000 people, including more than 35,000 students – until the Museum temporarily closed because of COVID-19. The Museum reopened to the public on September 13, albeit at 25% of the Museum’s previous capacity to maintain proper social distancing.
Under the new system, the Museum is open three days per week—Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday—rather than the previous six, and with limited hours, from 10 AM to 5 PM. General admission, timed-entry tickets purchased online in advance allow access to all Museum galleries. On the other days, the Museum deep cleans all public spaces.
“First and foremost is the safety of our visitors and our employees,” says Jack Kliger, President & CEO of the Museum. “As people venture out again seeking educational experiences in safe public places, museums such as ours are uniquely qualified to welcome them back. Many people had purchased tickets to see Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. before it was due to close this year and so are extremely grateful to be able to host this unprecedented exhibition through May 2, 2021.”
“This exhibition offers clear, moral lessons that resonate powerfully today, particularly amid a rise in antisemitism across our country, and from which visitors want to learn,” says Bruce C. Ratner, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “Combatting antisemitism lies at the core of the mission of the Museum because one cannot understand the history and impact of the Holocaust without understanding antisemitism. The surge in antisemitic incidents in our country not only heightens the urgency of our work, but also compels each one of us to challenge hate in all of its forms.”
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. explores the dual identity of the camp as a physical location—the largest documented mass murder site in human history—and as a symbol of the borderless manifestation of hatred and human barbarity.
The exhibition traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those the Nazis deemed “homosexual,” “disabled,” “criminal,” “inferior,” or adversarial in countless other ways. The exhibition tells not only the story of their persecution and murder, but also the myriad ways ordinary people responded to the unfolding genocide, including inspiring stories of resistance, resilience, courage, and altruism. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps.
Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, mainly from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the New York presentation of the exhibition allows visitors to experience artifacts from more than 20 international museums and institutions on view for the first time in the North America, including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include: concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; part of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest-serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight train car used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland. Last fall, added to the exhibition was a shofar (a ram’s horn that is made into a special wind instrument used during Jewish High Holiday services) that was hidden and clandestinely blown in Auschwitz.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage has incorporated into the exhibition nearly 100 rare artifacts from its collection that relay the experience of survivors and liberators who found refuge in the greater New York area. These artifacts include: Alfred Kantor’s sketchbook and portfolio that contain over 150 original paintings and drawings from Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Schwarzheide; the trumpet that musician Louis Bannet (acclaimed as “the Dutch Louis Armstrong”) credits for saving his life while he was imprisoned in Auschwitz; visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania often referred to as “Japan’s Oskar Schindler”; prisoner registration forms and identification cards; personal correspondence; tickets for passage on the St. Louis; and a rescued Torah scroll from the Bornplatz Synagogue in Hamburg.
Also on display from the Museum of Jewish Heritage collection are Heinrich Himmler’s SS helmet and his annotated copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, as well as an anti-Jewish proclamation issued in 1551 by Ferdinand I that was given to Hermann Göring by German security chief Reinhard Heydrich on the occasion of Göring’s birthday. The proclamation required Jews to identify themselves with a “yellow ring” on their clothes. Heydrich noted that, 400 years later, the Nazis were completing Ferdinand’s work. These artifacts stand as evidence of a chapter of history that must never be forgotten.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is produced in partnership with the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, and curated by an international panel of experts, including world-renowned scholars Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with historians and curators at the Research Center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, led by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.
Earlier this week, the European Commission and Europa Nostra named Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. as one of its three Grand Prix laureates, noting, “Exhibitions such as Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. – based on rigorous research and European collaboration – are important in that they raise awareness and make the lessons from our shared past more tangible, offering factual and clear evidence of what can happen when various forms of extremism are tolerated.”
“Above all, the Award comes as an important tribute to all the victims, and a powerful reminder of how the story of Auschwitz is part of our shared cultural heritage. Hundreds of thousands have visited the exhibition, many of which are young students. It is very encouraging that so many people, in different continents, are willing to face such a deeply problematic part of our history. It speaks about the responsibility many individuals share not only to remember the past, but also to critically analyze our present,” said Luis Ferreiro, Director at Musealia.
Earlier this year, the exhibition received the 2020 European Heritage / Europa Nostra Award
in the category of Education Training and Awareness-Raising — the most prestigious award in the field of European heritage. The Award jury said the exhibition “preserves the memory of one of the worst episodes in the history of humanity and is based on deep, scientific, historical research. It succeeded in recreating the emotional experience of visiting the real site, which is challenging for a travelling exhibition and is thanks in part to the richness of the content.”
Adds Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, “Our societies are still threatened by xenophobia, racism, antisemitism, and ideologies of hatred. Sometimes one tragedy or event is enough to trigger a scapegoating campaign and to make respect that another person deserves to fade away. We can see those tendencies exposed during today’s pandemic threats. That is why the moral voice of the tragedy of Auschwitz must be heard all over the world.”
Following the New York presentation, the exhibition will open at Union Station in Kansas City in June 2021. Future destinations will be announced by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is made possible with lead support by Bruce C. Ratner, George and Adele Klein Family Foundation, Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert, and Larry and Klara Silverstein & Family. The exhibition is presented in part with major support by The David Berg Foundation, Patti Askwith Kenner, Oster Family Foundation, and The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. Additional generous support is provided by Simon & Stefany Bergson, The Knapp Family Foundation, and the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
Health and Safety Guidelines
The Museum has instituted protocols to comply with City and State guidelines to ensure the health and safety of visitors and employees, including limiting capacity in the galleries to ensure social distancing, timed admission tickets that must be purchased online, and requiring all visitors and staff to wear masks.
Additionally, floor markers and other signage are placed throughout the facility to direct visitors on how to maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the Museum. Masks are provided to any visitor who does not have one.
Visitors are encouraged to use their own smartphones and earphones to access the Auschwitz exhibition’s audio guide (which is available in eight languages), though the Museum does provide earphones for visitors who don’t have them, as well.
While in-person group tours are not available, in November the Museum will begin offering virtual field trips for school groups at no charge. Teachers will be able to choose from two, pre-recorded digital tours, which are especially suited to middle and high school-aged students who are studying the Holocaust or the experiences of immigrant communities in their U.S. History and social studies classes.
“Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust” utilizes the Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. exhibition to teach about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust.
“Love Thy Neighbor: Immigration and the U.S. Experience” teaches from the Museum’s Ordinary Treasures exhibition, featuring artifacts from the Museum’s collection and the Jewish immigrant experience.
The Museum also expanded its successful online programming for the general public, students, and teachers. Online programming has made it possible for more New Yorkers and people across the country and world to engage with the Museum. Since the Museum went virtual on, there have been more than 100,000 program participants.
For more information regarding the Museum’s safety and visitor guidelines, visit mjhnyc.org/visitor-information. The Museum also will provide detailed information on planning a visit and updates on its website at mjhnyc.org.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. – Extended Until May 2021
$16 general admission
$12 Seniors and ADA
Members can receive complimentary entrance based on membership levels.
Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
36 Battery Place, New York City
Neighborhood: Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan
Auschwitz.nyc for map and directions
About the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
Currently on view is the acclaimed exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world.
Also on view are Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection and Rendering Witness: Holocaust-Era Art as Testimony.
The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.
For more information, visit mjhnyc.org.
Musealia is a Spanish-based global producer of large-scale historical exhibitions that are presented at museums and education centers all over the world. Its vision is to create and manage exhibitions that are distinguished by a strong narrative character, historical rigor, emotional impact, and educational value.
ABOUT THE AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU STATE MUSEUM
Fulfilling the wish of survivors, on July 2, 1947, the Polish parliament created the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the site of two preserved parts of the former German Nazi camp: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The Memorial today includes an Archive and a Collections department, and undertakes research, conservation, and publishing activities. It is, above all, an education center that teaches visitors about the history of Auschwitz and the Shoah.
In 2019, 2 million 320 thousand people visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Artifacts and images from dozens of institutions and private collections from around the world are on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, including:
Amud Aish Memorial Museum, New York
Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim
Auschwitz Jewish Center, Oświęcim
Buchenwald Memorial, Weimar
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa
Christian Schad Museum, Aschaffenburg
Czartoryski Museum and Library, Kraków
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot
Hartheim Castle Education and Memorial Centre, Alkoven
Holocaust Center for Humanity, Seattle
House of the Wannsee Conference, Berlin
Imperial War Museum, London
Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich
Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw
Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens
Mauthausen Memorial, Mauthausen
Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg
Memorial Centre Westerbork, Hooghalen
Montreal Holocaust Museum, Montreal
Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, New York
Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.kl
NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam
Slovak National Archives, Bratislava
Terezín Initiative Institute, Prague
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
YIVO, New York City