The Eternal Flame and Memorial Wall

In Jewish practice, a twenty-four hour candle is lit on the anniversary of the death of a parent or child. For many, there is no known anniversary date for relatives lost in the Holocaust; no grave to visit, and, increasingly, no one to remember. For all these innocent souls, we keep the flame burning.

The Timeline

It is important to contextualize events within world history. All events are the result of actions that came before and, in turn, influence events that follow.  In this timeline, the history of the Jewish people is juxtaposed with milestones in world history.

Museum of European Jewish Heritage

Jews have resided in Europe since the second century CE. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Eastern Europe was the intellectual and religious center of the modern Jewish world, though the antisemitism continued. 

Descent into Nazism

As you move toward the portrait of Adolf Hitler, you descend into darkness.  You learn of persecution, resistance, fear and unparalleled courage, families uprooted, separated, confined and murdered, the unspeakable atrocities of the perpetrators and the silence of the bystanders.

The Camp System

Beginning in 1933, thousands of camps sprang up. We hear primarily about Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec and Majdanek, the killing centers established in occupied Poland by the Nazi forces. Ultimately, there were thousands of other camps, including transit camps, slave labor camps which provided slave labor for German factories, and Prisoner of War camps.

The Abyss

General Dwight D. Eisenhower required civilian news media and military combat camera units to record their observations. He explained, “I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’” 

The Postwar Period

Following Hitler’s defeat, war crimes trials were held at Dachau and Nuremberg. While Jews sought surviving family members and traces of their former lives, the Allies set up Displaced Persons’ camps to house refugees. Individuals came to grips with the reality that they had no place to go and, often, no surviving family.  Others came to strange new lands with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Portraits of Honor

This interactive exhibit allows you to read the stories and hear from many of Michigan’s survivors - explore, listen and try to understand what these brave individuals overcame.

The Institute of the Righteous

The Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous provides an exploration of those who take responsibility by acting in a moral and ethical manner including those who risked their lives to help save strangers during the Holocaust.