It is over 75 years since the end of World War II. When the advancing allied forces liberated the German concentration camps the full horror of the Nazi’s “Final Solution” to what they called the “Jewish problem” was exposed. There was world-wide sympathy for the Jews (and others) who suffered at the hands of the evil policies of the Nazis in the Holocaust, and this was a major catalyst for the establishment in 1948 of an independent Jewish state under the auspices of the United Nations. Both the Holocaust and Israel’s rebirth were predicted by the prophets and are signs that our Lord will soon return.

Today the number of Holocaust survivors is rapidly diminishing, and with their passing there is a disturbing growth in Holocaust denial. As incredible as it may seem, there are many who openly question that the Holocaust occurred. Even more disturbingly, there are people who openly express admiration for the policies of the Nazis and support for the atrocities of the Holocaust and even lament that the “Final Solution” was not executed more fully.

Jewish organisations around the world recognise the need to promote awareness of the Holocaust. To that end, several excellent museums have been established. The best known of these are Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. There also are more modest museums in Australia, including one in Sydney and another recently established in Adelaide.

Sydney Jewish Museum

Opened in 1992, this museum was established by Holocaust survivors who settled in Sydney. While it covers the history of Jews in Australia, it has a particular focus on the Holocaust. Having outlined the background to the Holocaust, the material displayed explains how the policies of the Nazis and their collaborators were implemented. It also recounts how those who survived dealt with their experience.

Several elderly Holocaust survivors volunteer at the museum as guides and offer their personal insights to complement the material on display. One of these volunteers is Eddie Jaku. In 2020 his autobiography The Happiest Man on Earth was published. The book describes the brutality of the Holocaust as he experienced it, but despite that, his story is inspiring and uplifting.

Address:     148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst (https://sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au/)

Open:         Sunday to Thursday, 10.00am to 4.00pm

Bookings:   There is no need to book

Adelaide Holocaust Museum

Much smaller than the one in Sydney, this recently opened museum effectively and succinctly tells the story of the Holocaust. The cruelty of the Nazis is exposed in an understated and restrained manner which informs and confronts the visitor. A feature of this museum is the way it uses the personal experiences of six survivors who came to live in Adelaide to complement the political and social history which is portrayed. It also chronicles local efforts to help Jews escape Europe in the years immediately prior to World War II.

Address:     33 Wakefield Street, Adelaide (http://www.ahmsec.org.au/)

Open:         Sunday 11.00am to 3.00pm, and Tuesday to Thursday 1.00pm to 4.00pm

Bookings:   Due to the size of the museum visitors are asked to book their visit in advance.

Both museums charge entry fees and each has programs for schools.

Due to the sensitive and confronting nature of the content, each museum recommends that younger children do not attend, and that any children who do attend are always accompanied by an adult.

Jewish Holocaust Centre Melbourne

This museum at 13-15 Selwyn St, Elsternwick, is currently being rebuilt and is scheduled to reopen in 2022.

All brothers, sisters and young people should be aware of the facts of the Holocaust—especially in these times when revisionist historians are casting doubt on its historicity. A visit to one of these museums is a sobering experience but also highly informative and is heartily recommended.