“The Kaiser Holocaust Exhibition is a journey of discovery, enlightenment and soul-searching. Only at a unique place and time, in a unique atmosphere and political system, during a unique economic situation with new technology, only through the inaction and complicity of a silent world could eleven million people perish.” — Exhibition brochure
When the Holocaust is remembered today, one of the first thoughts that come to one’s mind is the millions of innocent people that were lost by Nazi inhumanity. Out of the millions of lives lost, up to 6 million of them were Jews. The Herman and Kate Kaiser Holocaust Exhibition at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma further opens the eyes of visitors to the atrocities that were experienced by the Jewish community during World War II.
The second a visitor walks into the exhibit, it is instantly noticeable that the feeling in the room is nothing like the feeling in the museum lobby, a mixture of sadness and anger overcomes the visitor all at once. One of the first items you see is that of a Klu Klux Klan robe. Something that isn’t necessarily expected, the label goes on to explain how the Klan in early 20th century Oklahoma frequently targeted Jews. The hatred that the Klan had towards the Jewish community was not something that was always known in Oklahoma history.
As the visitor continues through the exhibit, it is clear that the message goes towards what led up to the Holocaust, along with the brutality that the Nazis conducted during that time. The museum does an excellent job with getting the attention of the museum visitor and essentially grabbing their emotions as they walk through. Seeing what happened to the Jewish community, reading their stories, and seeing their actual pairs of shoes that were taken from them before going into a concentration camp continues to fill the visitor with a deep sadness for the victims. It goes on to show pictures and stories of survivors, along with the well-known story of what Anne Frank and her family went through hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
This permanent exhibition encourages people to remember what happened to Jews during the Holocaust. Giving the visitor a moving experience, one cannot help but wish to learn more about what happened.