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Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust announces September reopening
This child’s shoe and sock were found in January 1945 among thousands of others at Auschwitz-Birkenau—abandoned by the Nazis as the Red Army approached. Collection of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland. ©Musealia.

NEW YORK, NY.- As New York enters the next phase of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust today announced plans to reopen its doors—pending City and State approval—on a reduced schedule in September and extend the internationally acclaimed and popular exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., through May 2, 2021.

Under the new system, once Museums are permitted to welcome visitors indoors again, the Museum plans to open three days per week rather than the previous six days, and with limited hours: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. If allowed to open, the first two days will be for members only shortly after Labor Day. General admission, timed-entry tickets will allow access to all Museum galleries and be available at a limited capacity – at 25% of the Museum’s previous capacity – to maintain proper social distancing. On the other days, the Museum will deep clean all public spaces. Timed tickets will be available once the Museum is authorized to reopen.

“First and foremost is the safety of our visitors and our employees,” says Jack Kliger, President & CEO of the Museum. “As people venture out again seeking educational experiences in safe public places, museums such as ours are uniquely qualified to welcome them back. We also recognize that many people had purchased tickets to see Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. before it was due to close this year and are pleased to announce that we have arranged for the exhibition to remain with us through May 2, 2021.”

“We are extending this exhibition because it offers clear, moral lessons that resonate powerfully today, particularly amid a rise in antisemitism across our country, and from which visitors want to learn,” says Bruce C. Ratner, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.

“Combatting antisemitism lies at the core of the mission of the Museum because one cannot understand the history and impact of the Holocaust without understanding antisemitism. The surge in antisemitic incidents in our country not only heightens the urgency of our work, but also compels each one of us to challenge hate in all of its forms.”

The Museum is developing protocols to comply with City and State guidelines to ensure the health and safety of visitors and employees, including limiting capacity in the galleries to ensure social distancing, timed admission tickets that must be purchased online, and requiring all visitors and staff to wear masks.

Additionally, floor markers and other signage will be placed throughout the facility to direct visitors on how to maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the Museum. Masks will be provided to any visitor who does not have one.

Visitors will be encouraged to use their own smartphones and earphones to access the Auschwitz exhibition’s audio guide (which is available in multiple languages), though the Museum plans to have earphones available for purchase, as well.

While in-person group tours will not be available, virtual tours, including of the Auschwitz exhibition and gallery visits for adult and student groups, will be launched in September. Programming – including performances and talks - will not take place in the Museum’s theater until a later date.

The Museum will expand its successful online programming for the general public, students, and teachers. Online programming has made it possible for more New Yorkers and people across the country and world to engage with the Museum. Since the Museum went virtual on March 15 to date, there have been more than 100,000 program participants.

During the rest of the summer and through August, the Museum will present a number of virtual events: Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century on August 11th; Generally Speaking – Stephanie Butnick in conversation with David Wallis on August 18th; Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy on August 20th; Gerda III: A Ship of Salvation about the Danish Rescue on August 25th; and, Anti-Racist Practice and the Transformation of Jewish Communities on August 27th.

The Museum’s highly regarded restaurant, Lox at Cafe Bergson, operated by David Teyf’s Madison and Park Hospitality Group, initially plans to offer only take-out and delivery. Museum visitors will be welcome to order food and sit outside in one of the beautiful adjacent park areas. Indoor dining will be considered at a later time.

Additionally, the Museum offers discounted parking at several nearby parking garages and there are nearby bike racks and a Citi Bike dock. Additionally, the Museum is very accessible by multiple ferry services, bus, and subway lines to Lower Manhattan.

For more information regarding the Museum's safety and visitor guidelines, visit The Museum also will provide detailed information on planning a visit and updates on its website at

Produced by the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, the groundbreaking exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is the largest ever on Auschwitz with more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs. The extension – the second since the exhibition opened in May 2019 – responds to the record number of visitors the exhibition had drawn to the Museum until its closure in early March 2020, and because of the temporary closure due to the pandemic. As of March 13, more than 168,000 people – including more than 35,000 students – from across the country and globe visited the Museum to see the exhibition.

Recently, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. was awarded the 2020 European Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in the category of Education Training and Awareness-Raising — the most prestigious award in the field of European heritage. The Award jury said the exhibition “preserves the memory of one of the worst episodes in the history of humanity and is based on deep, scientific, historical research. It succeeded in recreating the emotional experience of visiting the real site, which is challenging for a travelling exhibition and is thanks in part to the richness of the content.”

“The Europa Award recognition encourages us to carry on preserving the essential heritage of common memory, bringing the important lessons of history to citizens around the world. The extension of the Auschwitz exhibition in New York allows us to continue this important work and to reach an even wider audience as well as welcome all those visitors who have planned to see it but cannot due to the lockdown,” says Luis Ferreiro, Director of Musealia and the exhibition project.

“Our societies are still threatened by xenophobia, racism, antisemitism, and ideologies of hatred. Sometimes one tragedy or event is enough to trigger a scapegoating campaign and to make respect that another person deserves to fade away. We can see those tendencies exposed during today's pandemic threats. That is why the moral voice of the tragedy of Auschwitz must be heard all over the world,” says Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The Exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is produced in partnership with the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. The exhibition has been curated by an international team of experts led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt.

Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, mainly from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the New York presentation of the exhibition allows visitors to experience artifacts from more than 20 international museums and institutions on view for the first time in the North America, including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include: concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; part of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest-serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight train car used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland. Last fall, added to the exhibition was a shofar (a ram’s horn that is made into a special wind instrument used during Jewish High Holiday services) that was hidden and clandestinely blown in Auschwitz.

Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. explores the dual identity of the camp as a physical location—the largest documented mass murder site in human history—and as a symbol of the borderless manifestation of hatred and human barbarity.

Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those the Nazis deemed “homosexual,” “disabled,” “criminal,” “inferior,” or adversarial in countless other ways. The exhibition tells not only the story of their persecution and murder, but also the myriad ways ordinary people responded to the unfolding genocide, including inspiring stories of resistance, resilience, courage, and altruism. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage has incorporated into the exhibition nearly 100 rare artifacts from its collection that relay the experience of survivors and liberators who found refuge in the greater New York area. These artifacts include: Alfred Kantor’s sketchbook and portfolio that contain over 150 original paintings and drawings from Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Schwarzheide; the trumpet that musician Louis Bannet (acclaimed as “the Dutch Louis Armstrong”) credits for saving his life while he was imprisoned in Auschwitz; visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania often referred to as “Japan’s Oskar Schindler”; prisoner registration forms and identification cards; personal correspondence; tickets for passage on the St. Louis; and a rescued Torah scroll from the Bornplatz Synagogue in Hamburg.

Also on display from the Museum of Jewish Heritage collection are Heinrich Himmler’s SS helmet and his annotated copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, as well as an anti-Jewish proclamation issued in 1551 by Ferdinand I that was given to Hermann Göring by German security chief Reinhard Heydrich on the occasion of Göring’s birthday. The proclamation required Jews to identify themselves with a “yellow ring” on their clothes. Heydrich noted that, 400 years later, the Nazis were completing Ferdinand’s work. These artifacts stand as evidence of a chapter of history that must never be forgotten.

Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. was conceived of by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and curated by an international panel of experts, including world-renowned scholars Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with historians and curators at the Research Center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, led by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.

Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is presented in the symbolic, hexagonally-shaped building at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. This 18,000-square-foot exhibition introduces artifacts and Holocaust survivor testimony through 20 thematic galleries.

Throughout its presentation of Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., the Museum has been hosting a series of related public, educational, and scholarly programming, featuring world-renowned experts on the Holocaust. The Museum also has expanded its work with students in the tri-state area and introduced complementary educational tools for in-class and onsite use.

Following the New York presentation, the exhibition is intended to tour other cities around the world. Future destinations will be announced by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

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