The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

     A group of Holocaust survivors living in Dallas in 1984 founded the Dallas Holocaust Museum.[1] When it first opened its doors, the Museum’s primary purpose was to educate the public on the history of the genocide committed by Nazi Germany for 1933 to 1945, and to honor those who had lost their lives in those fateful years. Since then, the museum has grown and moved to its new location in the West End Historic District of Dallas, opening its doors in September of 2019. The museum was renamed the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, expanding the exhibits to include other examples of atrocities committed worldwide and to advocate for change, while educating visitors about the steps that lead to such atrocities.[2]

     The Holocaust and Shoah wing is home to a collection of historical artifacts from the Holocaust era, such as clothes worn by prisoners of concentration camps, utensils, suitcases, and other personal belongings that were confiscated from those entering the camps. A Nazi-era transport rail car, that provides a physical understanding of the horrors of Nazi transports to museum visitors. The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum was the first Holocaust museum to display such an artifact. [3] Mike Jacobs, a former president of the Holocaust Survivors of Dallas and a co-founder of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, was instrumental in the addition of this artifact to the museum.[4]

     Rather than focusing on the years that the Nazi “Final Solution” was carried out across Europe, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum covers a history of anti-Semitism throughout the world and the role that intolerance and ignorance played in creating an environment in which the Holocaust could occur. An emphasis on the effect that bystanders had on the atrocities of the Holocaust stresses the importance of being an upstander when you are in the presence of injustice, no matter how big or how small. This theme of being an upstander is a thread throughout the museum’s various exhibits.

     For Holocaust survivors in the Dallas area, the Museum serves as a way for them to feel at peace with their history, provides a legacy, and the potential that the Museum has to educate people to recognize the early warning signs of genocide and to be willing to speak out before serious atrocities are committed. One survivor, Max Glauben, experienced the horrors of Majdanek. His video testimonies are preserved in the Museum and serve as an inspiration to the future generations.[5] Speaking about his video testimonies, Glauben said that "the greatest victorious reward [was] for me to be able to do that. I think it might be the performance of the greatest mitzvah person could ever do. Any living person in the United States, regardless of religion, color or which nation or country they come from, their spouses, their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren, could come into this facility and ask a question of Max Glauben about the Holocaust. And he will answer about how he was treated 80 years ago during the darkest period in our history."[6]

     One element which sets this museum apart from other Holocaust museums is the Human Rights wing. This exhibit highlights other genocides across the world, such as occurred in Cambodia, China, and Rwanda, as well as the slaughter and mistreatment of Native Americans in the United States.[7]

     The Museum is home to a multitude of survivor testimonies, like Max Glauben’s, which serve as a way to connect the audience with the personal stories of people who lived through the Holocaust. There are many testimonies from those who lived through atrocities, not just the Holocaust, on display in the Human Rights wing. The diversity of sources is a testament to the Museum and the effort that the Museum makes to let the voices of survivors of atrocities be heard.

 

 

 FOOTNOTES

 

 [1] Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, “Legacy”, https://www.dhhrm.org/about/legacy-museum/

[2] Harriet Gross, “Go Inside the New Dallas Holocaust Museum, Which Has Expanded It’s Scope,” D Magazine, September 18, 2019, https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2019/09/inside-dallas-holocaust-human-rights-museum-west-end/

[3] Gross.

[4] Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, “Legacy”, https://www.dhhrm.org/about/legacy-museum/

[5] Michael Granberry, “For Holocaust Survivor Max Glauben, the Opening of Dallas’ New Museum Means ‘Now I Have my Closure’,” Dallas Morning News, September 17, 2019, https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/visual-arts/2019/09/17/for-holocaust-survivor-max-glauben-the-opening-of-dallas-new-museum-means-now-i-have-my-closure/

[6] Granberry.

[7] Gross.

 

Official Website:

https://www.dhhrm.org/

Cite this Page:

Kara Skowlund, “The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum,” Human Rights Dallas Maps, accessed October 26, 2021, http://humanrightsdallasmaps.com/items/show/32.

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