The new way of commemorating in the National Holocaust Museum

On Friday 2 September, the exhibition Tangible Memories from the Jewish Monument will open in the National Holocaust Museum. Ever since 2005, the online Jewish Monument has commemorated the more than 104,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust in the Netherlands. Now this digital platform will have a physical place in the museum. The exhibition will include an interactive display of the Jewish Monument and an personal introduction to Jewish children from the Monument. Objects, photographs, documents, and other tangible memories will help to paint a picture of the lives that were connected to them.

The Jewish Monument - a living monument
According to Jewish tradition, we can keep the memory of the dead alive by recalling their names. The online Jewish Monument commemorates Jewish victims of the Holocaust by bringing them out of anonymity and gathering information about their lives. Visitors to the monument view more than 30,000 commemorative pages per month. In May (when the Dutch commemorate their war dead), this number is five times as great. Visitors contribute stories to the monument every day, adding new content to these commemorative acts. The Jewish Monument website, which recently underwent a thorough renovation, was designed and built by the web agency Driebit.

Traces of  vanished lives
The Jewish Holocaust victims from the Netherlands included some 18,000 children. Even fewer traces remain of their short lives than of the adult victims. The objects in the exhibition were often put in safekeeping by the children themselves just before they were sent to the camps. They include toys, jewellery, and other personal belongings. The exhibition will also include more than 4,000 portraits of children collected by Guus Luijters and Aline Pennewaard for their project In Memoriam (2012). These are photographs of everyday life, the faces of smiling and laughing children with their whole lives ahead of them.

Just as the public can add to the online Jewish Monument, visitors will also have the opportunity to contribute to this exhibition. An empty display case will be accompanied by a heartfelt plea to share any tangible memories of children included in the monument.

National Holocaust Museum currently in the process of development

This exhibition was created in close partnership with students from the Reinwardt Academy, part of Amsterdam University of the Arts. The concept and design grew out of this partnership. Moving forward, the NHM will continue to look for partners in developing this new way of commemorating.

The NHM is a museum in development. It will go through several stages in the years ahead. In the first stage, a three-year period, it will present a varied range of exhibitions and events to acquaint visitors with the multitude of stories about the Holocaust. These stories will be told in an artistic form, illustrated by authentic objects, and based on personal accounts. During this stage, the emphasis will lie on raising funds for the entire plan: a permanent National Holocaust Museum that places the history of the Holocaust in the Netherlands in a broad international context.  


This exhibition is on view at the National Holocaust Museum.


Would you like to visit the Jewish Cultural Quarter? Buy your tickets online.
Your ticket will give access to the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the JHM Children's Museum, and the National Holocaust Museum. You can visit all four locations with one ticket, which is valid for one month!

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