Tangible Memories from the Jewish Monument

The new way of commemorating in the National Holocaust Museum

The exhibition Tangible Memories from the Jewish Monument in the National Holocaust Museum includes an interactive display of the Jewish Monument and an personal introduction to Jewish children from the Monument. Objects, photographs, documents, and other tangible memories help to paint a picture of the lives that were connected to them.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 has a physical place in the museum.

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 in 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.  

Description of Nazi labour camps in occupied Poland

The National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam, part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, sets great store by the correct representation of historical facts. The museum recounts the history of the lives and murder of more than 100.000 Jews from the Netherlands during the Holocaust; the majority of these were killed in occupied Poland. On one of the labels in one of our temporary exhibitions reference is made to two members of one family who perished in the forced labour camp Schoppinitz. It was brought to our attention recently that the camp was referred to erroneously as a Polish camp, rather than a camp established by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland. The museum is grateful that the mistake has been pointed out to us and has meanwhile corrected it. Experts of the National Holocaust Museum  for many years have advised representatives of the Dutch Government to support international guidelines as drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) regarding the accurate description of camps established in occupied Poland by Nazi-troops. The correction is in full accordance with these guidelines. 


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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