Arts & Affairs Features

The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do

Gad Worn by Marita Radulescu. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Jewish Heritage.

A major new exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is open. “The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do” offers an expansive and timely presentation of Holocaust history told through personal stories, objects, photos and film—many on view for the first time.

The 12,000-square-foot exhibition features over 750 original objects and survivor testimonies from the Museum’s collection. Together, these objects tell a global story through a local lens, rooted in objects donated by survivors and their families, many of whom settled in New York and nearby places.

In keeping with the Museum’s mission to educate people of all ages and backgrounds on the broad tapestry of Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust, the exhibition features countless beginnings, middles, and too many endings that make up the stories of “The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do.”

Each room, and each object, contains generations of experiences and information about who Jews are, what sustains Jewish communities, and what life was like during the period of European modernization, World War I and the political and social movements that brought about the rise of the Nazi Party. Within the Holocaust experiences of legalized racism and fascism, pogroms, ghettos, mass murder and concentration camps are instances of personal and global decision-making, escape, resistance and resilience, and ultimately liberation and new beginnings.

The audio tour guide accompanying the exhibition, available for download through the free Bloomberg Connects app, features narration from actress Julianna Margulies, winner of eight Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, and Eleanor Reissa, the Tony-nominated director, Broadway and television actress, prize-winning playwright, author of the memoir “The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey,” and former artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, acclaimed vocalist and Yiddishist, and actress Lauren Lebowitz are also featured on the audio guide, for which Paul Salmons Associates provided creative development (Paul Salmons, tour concept and historical interpretation; Leah Kharibian, scriptwriter).

“The title of our new exhibition speaks to our institution’s very reason for being,” says Museum President & CEO Jack Kliger. “Antisemitism and fascism are again on the rise throughout the world. Right here in New York, we have witnessed not only a surge in antisemitism but an uptick in violence and harassment targeting many marginalized groups. The time to speak out and act is upon us, and it is urgent. We hope ‘The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do’ will educate and inspire our visitors and honor those who perished in the Holocaust, whose memories are a blessing.”

“It is a particular point of pride for our institution that this exhibition gives new life to the Museum’s collection. The hundreds of artifacts, many of them donated by survivors, that visitors will experience were all donated to our institution with extraordinary trust and vision, and we are grateful. Each offers up its own story, and together these artifacts present an irrefutable record of history,” says the Museum’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Bruce Ratner.

“The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do” is the Museum’s first exhibition to open in its core galleries since its award-winning and widely acclaimed exhibition “Auschwitz. Not Long ago. Not far away.” concluded last spring.

The new exhibition was curated by a team of esteemed Holocaust scholars, historians and museum curators that included Professor Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz, Scott Miller, Ilona Moradof and Rebecca Frank, and consulting curators Professor Michael Berenbaum and Paul Salmons.

The Scholars Advisory Group included Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi, Dr. Charles L. Chavis, Jr., Rabbi Sholom Friedmann, Atina Grossman and Paul Wasserman.