New York, NY—Amid the violence and hate displayed when extremists forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust re-commits to teaching the history and legacy of the Holocaust, both in a historical context and as it relates to present-day extremism, hate, and violence.
As individuals stormed the Capitol, they brandished antisemitic and racist symbols, including Confederate flags, nooses, and attire promoting the Auschwitz death camp, which is the subject of the Museum’s current exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.
“We have a responsibility to stand up and condemn the blatant bigotry displayed at the Capitol on Wednesday,” said Jack Kliger, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “We cannot be silent bystanders. We must speak up and take action wherever and whenever we witness hatred and threats of violence.
“Our Museum draws on lessons from the Holocaust to educate about hate and injustice in our current times. We remain committed to educating our visitors, whether in-person or online, on the reality and dangers of extremism.”
On Thursday, January 14 at 2 p.m., the Museum, ADL, and The New York Board of Rabbis will present “Extremism: What You Need To Know In 2021,” a virtual event that will discuss both the challenge of extremism today and the opportunities to push back via civil society, government regulation, and reforms by social media companies.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis and Jack Kliger will moderate a discussion with panelists Talia Lavin, journalist and author of Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy; Oren Segal, Vice President of the Anti Defamation League’s Center on Extremism; and Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center and Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center and Race Forward.
For younger audiences and school groups, the Museum offers two virtual field trips: “Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust” and “Love Thy Neighbor: Immigration and the U.S. Experience.”
Amid the pandemic, the Museum pivoted to provide online programming in March when it physically closed in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines. The Museum has since reopened but continues to connect with audiences at home.
Last year, the Museum educated visitors about discrimination against Asian-Americans spurred by the coronavirus pandemic in a virtual lecture, “Beyond Social Distancing”, and hosted events that examined historical and contemporary white supremacy, both in the context of antisemitism and racism in the U.S.
Singer and musician Anthony Russell joined a discussion on “Yiddish, Anti-Racist Practice, and the Transformation of Jewish Communities”. In another program, Talia Lavin discussed her book Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. The Museum also explored how to confront evils of the past with author Susan Neiman in light of her book Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil.
In June, the Museum presented an interactive webinar on Meanings of October 27th, an oral history project that explores Jewish and non-Jewish Pittsburghers’ life histories and reflections on the October 27th, 2018 synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life building.
The Museum also hosted two updates on white nationalism and the Charlottesville trial with Integrity First for America. Sines v. Kessler is a groundbreaking lawsuit that seeks to hold accountable the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other far-right extremists who conspired to orchestrate a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017. The trial is set to begin this year.
The Museum’s past programs are recorded and available to watch on YouTube.
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.