Permanent Exhibit

The permanent exhibit of the Holocaust Memorial Center museum serves two purposes. The first is to present an overview history of the Holocaust. The second is to serve as a memorial to the victims. The displays consist primarily of photographs and text, supplemented by artifacts, art works, and short film presentations. The museum display consists of twelve segments, each introducing a major theme of the Holocaust.

A note for visitors: These displays tell the story of the horrors of the Holocaust, but out of respect for victims and families they do not reply on graphic images of Nazi brutality.

Visitors to the Holocaust Memorial Center are greeted by the following quote from Elie Wiesel, “Whoever forgets, becomes the executioners’ accomplice.” Two messages are expressed in this quote: our obligation to remember the Holocaust and its victims, and our duty to use our knowledge to lessen the chance of future genocides.

How We Are Today
This display demonstrates that Jewish people, including Holocaust survivors, are part of our community. It also shows that prejudices are still a danger in our world today.

How We Were Then
This panel draws comparisons between life before the Holocaust and our own times. Then as now, Jews were an integral part of the communities in which they lived. They were not different from anyone else in society, yet were often targeted for persecution.

The Life Before* This section elaborates on Jewish life before the Holocaust and reveals that prejudice against Jews was deeply rooted in the history of Europe. It also introduces the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.

Threatening Jews, Stifling Political Opposition
This presentation describes the progression of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. It began with anti-Jewish stereotypes in propaganda and continued through periodic acts of social, political, and economic discrimination. It became an organized program of physical violence with the Kristallnacht pogrom in November of 1938, but by then the gradual nature of the anti-Semitic program obscured the magnitude of the danger.

War – Persecution – Ghetto
This panel describes how the Nazis began the destruction of the Jewish communities of Germany and occupied Europe. Jews were forced into ghettoes in Poland and other occupied countries, and many of these ghettoes were sealed. They quickly became places of starvation, sickness, and death. The Nazis had begun their program of mass murder.

Death Camps – Life in the Camps
These two sections chronicle the fate of the victims who were sent to concentration or death camps. Most were sent to immediate execution, and those consigned to slave labor usually suffered the same ultimate fate.

One of the most important lessons about the Holocaust is that the Jews fought back. Resistance could take other forms, as well: some smuggled food, formed self-help agencies, carried on religious, educational, and cultural activities, or hid from the Nazis. Non-Jews resisted the Nazis, too, and because of their efforts they are now known as “Righteous Gentiles”. They proved that it was possible to live up to the highest ideals of humanity, even in the face of extreme danger.

The Final Solution
This display explains the intent of the Nazis to solve what they called their “Jewish Problem” through mass murder. The panel describes the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) executions and recognizes the voluntary and premeditated character of the killings. The Nazis’ use of propaganda and deceptive, euphemistic language is also explained.

The Last Journey
This area reveals the hatred and destruction of the Jews that was the fanatical core of Nazi ideology. The description of the death marches at the end of the war demonstrates the unwillingness of the perpetrators to release their victims, even though it would have been in their best interest to do so.

This section of the museum describes the liberation of the concentration camps by the allies. It explores the idea that the German public was forced to confront and accept responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust. It also introduces the idea that the survivors were only at the beginning of a long struggle to reclaim their lives, with most seeking new homes outside of Europe (most in Palestine or the United States).

Witness Histories: Survivor and Liberator Testimonies
This DVD presentation introduces museum visitors to local Holocaust survivors and liberators. The program was developed using excerpts of interviews from videotapes selected from the Holocaust Memorial Center archives. These interviews constitute a valuable and unique primary resource for our community.. Artifacts and Works of Art:

Several display cases of artifacts are on exhibit throughout the museum to enhance the experience of visitors. These objects from the past can help visitors gain new insight and perspective on the people and events of the Holocaust.

Art Works and Memorial Displays
Six memorial lamps are installed at the front wall of the museum. Each lamp represents one million of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. They are also visible from the outside of the building. They are surrounded on either side by curved walls of Jerusalem stone. The drawings of Luba Gurdus present a stark portrayal of the camps as remembered by a survivor. A local artist, Wolf Kahn, created statues to honor the survivors and the liberators and designed the relief sculpture on the entry doors.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida · 851 N Maitland Ave · Maitland, FL 32751 · Phone: 407-628-0555 ·