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March 31, 2019
German-made WW II-era Model 2 Freight Car Installed at Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust; Part of the Exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.
Part of the largest exhibition on Auschwitz featuring more than 700 original objects never before seen in the United States, including a barrack from Auschwitz III-Monowitz; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; original drawings by Alfred Kantor and David Olère; unpublished memoirs and personal artifacts
New York, NY – A German-made World War II-era Model 2 freight car was delivered and installed today outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust as part of the travelling exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. Freight cars such as this were used by the German Nazis to deport people within occupied Europe to ghettos, killing centers, and concentration and extermination camps. Ultimately, 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, and 1.1 million of those were murdered there.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz ever exhibited in North America. The presentation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is produced in partnership with the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. The groundbreaking exhibition was curated by an international team of experts led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt. It will open in New York City on May 8, 2019 and run through January 3, 2020.
“The freight car is symbolic of the murder of millions people. Auschwitz is not ancient history but living memory, warning us to be vigilant, haunting us with the admonition ‘Never Again.’ It compels us to look around the world and mark the ongoing atrocities against vulnerable people, and to take a firm stand against hate, bigotry, ethnic violence, religious intolerance, and nationalist brutality of all kinds,” said Bruce C. Ratner, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
Mrs. Ray Kaner, a survivor of Auschwitz who was present when the freight car was installed, said: “This car that transported so many people – their destination was to die. I’m glad to let people know what happened when there is hate, prejudice, and anti-semitism because we were designated to die only because of our religion. I feel that it is so important that people should know what we went through for no reason other than we were Jews. I speak now as much as I can so children know what happened to us when we were children.”
The freight car, which was covered, was delivered on a flatbed truck. Rails were laid on the plaza in front of the Museum. A crane lifted the freight car into place.
Between June 1940 and January 1945, more than 1.1 million people, including ca. 1 million Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz. Most were transported there in train cars such as the one being placed on display. The horrible journey could last many days. Approximately 80 people and their belongings were crammed into each train car with a single barrel for sanitation and a can of drinking water, on a trip from which most never returned. The train cars brought people to extermination centers and returned filled with their looted possessions.
This freight car is one of 120,000 built between 1910 and 1927, used by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German National Railway) to transport foodstuffs, goods, and livestock. During World War II such trains cars were also used to transport soldiers and prisoners of war, and to deport Jews, Roma and others to the ghettos and killing centers in occupied Poland and the German Nazi concentration camps across occupied Europe. It is 11.5 ft. wide x 31.5 ft. long and has approximately 215 square feet of space.
“Each object in the exhibition is a fragment of history that has its own voice, its own historical echo. They establish a very personal conversation with each visitor,” said Luis Ferreiro, Director of Musealia and the exhibition project. “In this case, an original wagon will allow all passersby to reflect on how the memory of Auschwitz is part of our modern world. Understanding how that place came to be, and what this means for our view of ourselves, is one of the core purposes of this project.”
“The historical train car is one of the most important symbols of the horrifying systematic plan of mass extermination of Jews as well as terror and hatred unleashed within German-occupied Europe against many other groups. It is now placed less than two miles from the Statue of Liberty – a symbol of freedom, a welcoming sight to all immigrants who search for hope and their new, better future in the United States. This shows us why we need to remember about the tragic past. Freedom, democracy, human rights and justice are not given once and for all. We remember to strengthen our responsibility for protecting those values,” said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. arrives in New York City after the exhibition completed a successful run at Madrid’s Arte Canal Exhibition Centre, where it was extended two times, drew more than 600,000 visitors, and was one of the most visited exhibitions in Europe last year. The exhibition 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.
Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, the New York presentation of the exhibition will allow visitors to experience artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on view for the first time in 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; fragments 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; and Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. 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. 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.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage has incorporated into the exhibition more than 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; a rescued Torah scroll from the Bornplatz Synagogue in Hamburg; and dreidels and bullets recovered by Father Patrick Desbois in a Jewish mass grave in Ukraine.
Also on display from the Museum of Jewish Heritage collection will be Heinrich Himmler’s SS dagger and 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. was conceived of by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum 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.
The exhibition features artifacts and materials—never before seen in North America—on loan from more than 20 institutions and private collections around the world. In addition to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, participating institutions include Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg, and the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in London.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. will be presented in the symbolic, hexagonally-shaped building at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This 18,000 square foot exhibition will introduce artifacts and Holocaust survivor testimony through 20 thematic galleries. At the conclusion of this presentation, the Museum will debut its new permanent core exhibition.
Throughout its presentation of Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., the Museum will host a series of related public, educational, and scholarly programming, featuring world-renowned experts on the Holocaust. The Museum will also expand its work with students in the tri-state area and introduce complementary educational tools for in-class and onsite use.
Following the New York presentation, the exhibition is intended to tour other cities around the world. The schedule will be announced in the upcoming months and years by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and Musealia.
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, The Oster Family Foundation, and The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. The New York premiere is made possible in part by Simon & Stefany Bergson with additional support from The Knapp Family Foundation.
Entry is by timed ticket available at Auschwitz.nyc. Audio guide (available in 8 languages) is included with admission.
$25 Premium—entry any time on a specific day
$12 Seniors and People with Disabilities
$10 Students and Veterans
$8 Museum Members
FREE for Holocaust survivors, active members of the military and first responders, and NYC public school students and educators (with valid school-issued ID).
Museum hours will be extended starting May 8, 2019 for Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.
Sunday – Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM Last entry at 7 PM
Friday 10 AM to 5 PM Last entry at 3 PM
The Museum is closed on Saturdays, Jewish holidays, and Thanksgiving.
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
A companion catalog is being published by Abbeville Press on May 7, 2019.
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.
Since 1997, the Museum of Jewish Heritage has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors; it 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 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.
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.
More than 2 million people visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in 2018.
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.
Artifacts and images from dozens of institutions and private collections from around the world will be 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
Montreal Holocaust Museum, Montreal
Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.
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