This tour explores the "Prejudice and Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit," which is made up of photographs, artifacts and memories of people who live in the Dayton, Ohio, area.
Holocaust Audio Tour 9: Places of Ha’Shoah
Move to the grouping of photos on the left side of this exhibit. These buildings and places represent “Places of Ha’Shoah” – places where the events of the Holocaust took place. Tucson photographer Cy Lehrer used heavy black borders and film base to enhance the dramatic effect of his imagery. This technique encourages the viewer to experience the starkness of the photo and suggests an environment that would allow for incomprehensible crimes to take place.
Holocaust Audio Tour 08: Concentration Camp Uniform
Move to the long striped jacket in the glass exhibit case. Perhaps the rarest artifact in this exhibit, this concentration camp uniform is one of very few still in existence. It was given to the exhibit by Jack Bomstein, whose father Moritz wore the uniform while he was imprisoned at Buchenwald. Allied Prisoners of War, or POWs, interned at Buchenwald in 1944, had their U.S. uniforms taken away and were forced to wear uniforms similar to this one.
Holocaust Audio Tour 07: Timeline
Along the floor path of the Holocaust exhibit, you will find a timeline of a brief history of human rights in the 20th century. This retrospective includes not only issues relevant to the Holocaust, but to all matters of human rights from across the globe from 1901 to 1950.
Holocaust Audio Tour 10: Fragments of the Budapest Ghetto
Near the “Places of Ha’Shoah” images is another grouping titled “Fragments of the Budapest Ghetto.” These scenes are from an old Jewish section of Pest, Hungary, a district of 19th century buildings near the Danube River. Here the Nazis established a large ghetto in June 1944, several months after occupying Hungary and deporting virtually every Jew living in the provinces. Budapest’s 220,000 Jews were forced into 2,000 houses marked with a yellow star. In October, Hungarian Fascists began their program of anti-Jewish violence, even as Soviet troops approached the city. In November, thousands of Jews were shot and thrown into the Danube and preparations were made for massive deportation of those remaining. The Soviets occupied Budapest on Jan. 18, 1945, and an estimated 120,000 Jews were saved. Dominating the Jewish section is the Moorish-style Dohany Street Synagogue, a huge, ornate, twin-towered structure inaugurated in 1859 by the city’s Neolog (Reform) congregation. The largest active synagogue in Europe, it seats 3,000 and has undergone a full restoration that was completed in 2009. During the war, the church was fenced off and used as a concentration camp for Jews massed prior to deportation. In the arcade courtyard are individual and mass graves of thousands of Budapest’s ghetto victims. Another courtyard contains a memorial to Hungarian Holocaust victims, a weeping willow tree created in granite and steel, by Hungarian sculptor Irma Varga. On nearby Sip Street are found the offices of the Central Board of Hungarian Jews, the Budapest Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress and the American Joint Distribution Committee. The immediate neighborhood offers an Orthodox Mikvah, kosher restaurants, grocers and wine shops, Jewish gift shops and three Jewish schools.
Holocaust Audio Tour 06: Liberation
By May 1945, Nazi Germany had collapsed. American and Soviet troops liberated the camps and were shocked at the conditions they found. They were sickened by the sight of thousands of dead bodies stacked on top of each other. Most of the survivors resembled living skeletons. Even after they were freed, the Jews had problems. Most survivors had no homes to return to and so they immigrated to places like the United States, where they could start a new life. The word “Holocaust” means destruction by fire. It is a reminder that many books, synagogues and people were consumed by fire as the Nazi leaders killed six million Jews and millions of others in their efforts to achieve racial purity. More people died in the Holocaust than now live in the state of Ohio. Today the survivors, their children and their grandchildren are scattered among many nations. They are our neighbors, and they stand witness to what happened when racial and religious prejudice is encouraged by people who offer simple answers based on lies and hatred. It is our obligation to the millions of persons who died in this great human Holocaust to see that this does not happen again. On the reverse side of this wall, you can view photos and other artifacts that represent local histories of the Holocaust.
Holocaust Audio Tour 04: The Terror Begins
Hitler came to power legally in January 1933, promising to remove Jewish influence from German life. In April 1933, Germans burned Jewish books and forced most Jewish government employees and professionals to leave their jobs. Jewish life was further restricted by September 1935 by the passage of the Nuremburg Laws. These laws identified Jews by the religion of their grandparents. Some people who practiced Christianity discovered they were now classified as Jews who lost all rights of citizenship. Hitler also decided to “improve the purity of the Aryan race” by killing all German adults and children who had physical or mental disabilities. After 1937 Jewish children were not allowed to go to school, swim in public pools or even play on public playgrounds. Germans forced Jews out of their businesses and required them to wear a yellow star for identification. As things got worse, many left Germany but others stayed behind hoping things would get better. Some who wanted to leave could not obtain entry into other countries. The Nazis found an excuse to organize large scale violence against the Jewish people. When a Jewish teenager shot a German diplomat in Paris, German authorities immediately instigated mob violence on November 9 and 10, 1938. Thousands of Jewish businesses were destroyed and synagogues burned. So many store windows were smashed and homes ransacked that this night became known as Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass. Many Jews were beaten and at least 91 killed, and authorities sent over 30,000 Jewish men between the ages of 16 and 60 to concentration camps. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, they forced Polish Jews out of their homes and into closed-off neighborhoods called ghettos. Many families had to leave everything behind. They could only bring what they could carry. Food was scarce and the ghettos were very crowded. In many ghettos, the Germans forced the Jews to work making supplies and munitions for the German army. Many Jews were worked to death. Others died of starvation or were shot trying to escape. Jews were rounded up and sent to death camps regularly.