We systematically analyze 50 museums worldwide during our 5-year-project – always in the context of the respective national museum landscape. This is a documentation of our research trips to the 50 museums – and beyond...
Between October 25-28, 2022, Zuzanna Dziuban conducted field and archival research at the site of the former concentration camp in Majdanek in Lublin, Poland.
On October 24, 2022, Zuzanna Dziuban visited the new museum exhibition opened at the Museum and Memorial site at the former extermination camp in Sobibór, Poland. This research accompanied an expert meeting "Sobibór Archaeology" organised by the Dutch Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD).
On October 19 and 20, 2022, Ljiljana Radonić, Zuzanna Dziuban, André Hertrich, Eric Sibomana, Markéta Bajgerová and our new Ukrainian associated researcher Galyna Fesenko visited the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau including the new Austrian exhibition opened in October 2021.
On July 17, 2022, Ljiljana Radonić visited the Museum of the Homeland War in Karlovac which opened in July 2019 and is dedicated to the 1991-1995 war in Croatia in general and Karlovac in particular.
On April 22, 2022, Ljiljana Radonić visited the NS-Dokumentationszentrum (Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism) in Munich, which was opened in 2015 on the site of the former headquarters of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).
On April 19, 2022, Ljiljana Radonić visited the Haus der Weimarer Republik in Weimar. It was opened in July 2019 and commemorates the Weimar Republic, Germany’s first democracy (1918-1933).
On November 25, Markéta Bajgerová visited the ESMA Memory Site Museum. This in situ museum is located on one of the main avenues in the city of Buenos Aires, in the building of the Casino de Oficiales (Officer’s Quarters) in the Naval Mechanics School (ESMA), which during the last civic-military dictatorship (1976-1983) became a clandestine center for detention, torture and murder of the detained-disappeared (desaparecidos). The museum opened in 2015 and its content is created primarily through testimonies of survivors from the 1985 Trials of the Juntas and in the human rights trials restarted in 2004.
From August 2 to September 10, Eric Sibomana went on a research trip to Rwanda. Among other memorials, he visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It is a result of the effort of the Council of the City of Kigali to have a memorial centre on the land it donated and serves as a resting place for more than 250.000 victims collected across the city. Its official inauguration was in 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the 1994 genocide.Its permanent exhibition was designed by the Aegis Trust, an UK-based NGO, which, since its opening until today holds its management in collaboration with the former National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), a governmental agency. Beyond Rwanda history, this memorial also exhibits other genocides: against the Herero, the Holocaust, in Cambodia and the Balkans.
Eric Sibomana visited the Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site, located in the western part of Rwanda, Karongi District, on the hilltop. It was created in 1997 to commemorate the Tutsi victims of 1994 genocide. This memorial stands as national symbol for the Tutsi resistance against the genocidaires. Over 50.000 bodies of the victims rest in this memorial, some buried, others displayed.
Eric Sibomana visited the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial, located in the eastern part of Rwanda, in Kirehe District, near the border with Tanzania. It combines the former church, nunnery, its accompanying school, and buildings of the Benebikira Sisters. It was created in 1995 to commemorate more than 20.000 victims of the 1994 genocide killed there. Its foundation stone was laid by the current President Paul Kagame, Vice-President back then.
Eric Sibomana visited the Murambi Genocide Memorial, located in the southern part of Rwanda, Nyamagabe District. It was a former half-built school. It turned into a memorial for more than 50.000 victims, who had believed it to be a save heaven or were encouraged by the genocidaire to gather in promise of protection. The persecuted came from all corners of the former Gikongoro prefecture. The memorial deals with the dead in a unique way. While some are buried in mass graves, approximately 1200, are displayed mummified with lime. Its exhibition design is a result of joined effort between National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and Aegis Trust, a UK-based NGO. The memorial hights the role of international community, especially France.
On August 27, Markéta Bajgerová visited the Museum of the Liberation of Rome. It is dedicated to the liberation of the Italian capital from German occupation during World War II. The building at Via Tasso 145 was initially built and used as the German embassy's cultural office and in 1943 became the headquarters of the German Security Police that transformed it into a prison for political opponents. On the day of the liberation of Rome, the population entered the building and freed the remaining prisoners. The museum was opened in 1955.
From August 12 to 17 Ljiljana Radonić traveled to Vukovar in eastern Croatia. Among the memorials she visited was the Place of Memory - Vukovar Hospital 1991. The museum, located at the place of the famous former war hospital, commemorates the siege of the town during the “Homeland war” in 1991 and the victims who were brought from the hospital to the Ovčara mass execution site after Vukovar fell on 20 November 1991.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Water Tower - Symbol of Croatian Unity. It was built in the 1960s in the center of Vukovar and after the 1990s war came to symbolize Croatian Unity and commemorate the Croatian fight for independence because it was hit by Serb artillery numerous times, but never collapsed. A memorial room is located on the first floor.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Memorial of Homeland War Veterans at Trpinja Street. It is located at the site where the local command headquarters used to be in 1991. A bust in front of the memorial is dedicated to Blago Zadro, former commander of the northern part of the Croatian forces in Vukovar.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Ovčara Memorial which is located at the former farm hangar, where Croatian soldiers and civilians, taken from Vukovar hospital, were tortured and later executed by Serb troops. About a kilometer away from the hangar is the mass grave site of the Ovčara massacre of 1991.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Memorial Centre of the Homeland War Vukovar. It is dedicated to the memory of the battle of Vukovar. Beside the outdoor and indoor exhibitions - like this one about the "Serb concentration camps 'Stajićevo' and 'Begejci'" -, the memorial center also offers school programs for Croatian students.
Eric Sibomana and Ljiljana Radonić visited the House of Austrian History. Ljiljana Radonić previously advised the museum on where and how to add the small boxes containing cards with biographies of Austrian perpetrators (in the front of the photo) to the permanent exhibition.
Zuzanna Dziuban and Ljiljana Radonić were allowed to act as observers during the forensic excavation in search for the mass grave of around 180 Hungarian Jews murdered on 25 March 1945 near today's Rechnitz Kreuzstadl Memorial. The photo shows a bunker from the Nazi era which the Austrian "Bundesdenkmalamt" found during the excavation.
André Hertrich visited the Kyoto Museum for World Peace that is part of Ritsumeikan University in Kita-ku, Kyoto, as part of his research trip to several memorial museums in Japan. The Kyoto Museum for World Peace is the leading institution not only for critical war memorialization but also the attempt to promote a peaceful society (as symbolized by the golden phenix). As such it touches upon issues you hardly find in other big war museums, e.g. the Nanjing Massacre or biological warfare conducted by the infamous Unit 731.
André Hertrich visited the Osaka International Peace Center. The peace museum in Osaka used to be very critical of Japan's war responsibility and war crimes. Since its reopening in 2015 the exhibition mainly focuses on air raids on Osaka and the suffering of its populace.
André Hertrich visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The exhibition commemorates the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, which killed tens of thousands instantly and many more in the following years. The museum underwent renovation and just opened doors again in 2019. It now puts a stronger emphasis on personal items and the individual suffering.
André Hertrich visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki, a city with the largest Catholic community in Japan, experienced the second dropping of an atomic bomb during Word War II on August 9, 1945. The ruins of Urakami Cathedral (replica) are part of the exhibition indicating the damages caused by the blast and heat of the explosion.
André Hertrich visited the Women's Active Museum in Tokyo. The Women's Active Museum (WAM) is not only a small museum commemorating the plight of girls and women forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels. It is also serving as archive of the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery in 2000, which produced a lot of witness testimonies by former so called "comfort women".
André Hertrich visited the Auschwitz Peace Museum. It is located in Shirakawa (Fukushima Prefecture) in a wooden house surrounded by a big garden. The freight carriage serves as a representation of the cattle wagons used to deport Holocaust victims to Auschwitz. It houses an exhibition of children's drawings.
André Hertrich visited the Showa-kan National Showa Memorial Museum in Tokyo. Showa-kan opened in 1999 and is a national museum operated by the "Japanese War Bereaved Families Association" (nippon izoku-kai). The exhibition's main focus lies on the hardship of Japan's population during and after the war, while the actual war hardly finds any mentioning.
Ljiljana Radonić, André Hertrich, Frauke Kempka and our new colleagues Eric Sibomana and Markéta Bajgerová visited the former Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen. The visitor center was inaugurated in 2003, the current permanent exhibition opened in 2013.
André Hertrich and associated researcher Frauke Kempka visited the Memorial Center - Kamp Westerbork in the Netherlands. The memorial center was built in 1983 to commemorate the victims of Camp Westerbork. It was used by the Nazis as a transit camp to deport roughly 100.000 Jews to concentration camps. The vast majority of the victims, 97.776, were killed in Auschwitz and Sobibor in German-occupied Poland. In 1944, also 245 Sinti and Roma were deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz.
From May 13 to June 11 Ljiljana Radonić, Zuzanna Dziuban, André Hertrich and Frauke Kempka planned to do on-site research at several memorial museums in China and Japan. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 the trip had to be postponed.
From April 3 to April 13 a research trip was planned to several memorial museums in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 the trip had to be postponed.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the memorial denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof in Hamburg. Twenty deportation transports of Jews, Sinti and Roma left from the train station in WWII. The foundation of the building that will house the memorial museum was laid in February 2020. The museum will open in 2023.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Memorial Centre Lipa Remembers dedicated to the 269 Lipa inhabitants, mainly elderly people, women and children, whom Wehrmacht soldiers murdered on 30 April 1944 in the course of a military operation against insurgent partisan "gangs". The Wehrmacht had entered the village, burned down houses and massacred the entire population within hours.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Museum of the Homeland War in Karlovac which opened in July 2019 and is dedicated to the 1991-1995 war in Croatia in general and Karlovac in particular.
Zuzanna Dziuban visited the column filled with human remains that was installed by the group Center for Political Beauty in front of the German Bundestag in Berlin. According to the Center for Political Beauty, they had excavated the human remains near former Nazi extermination camps in Poland.
Associated researcher Frauke Kempka visited the Yūshūkan, a memorial institution commemorating Japan's war-dead located within the grounds of Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo.
Ljiljana Radonić and Zuzanna Dziuban visited the former Nazi extermination camp Bełżec in Poland. The memorial site and the museum opened in 2004 as a branch of the State Museum at Majdanek, in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Ljiljana Radonić and Zuzanna Dziuban visited the former Nazi extermination camp Sobibor in Poland. The memorial site including the mass graves has recently been redesigned. The new museum building opened in October 2020.
Ljiljana Radonić and Zuzanna Dziuban visited the memorial and the museum at the former Nazi extermination camp Treblinka II in Poland.
Ljiljana Radonić and Zuzanna Dziuban observed a forensic investigation at the former Nazi Forced labor camp Treblinka I in Poland.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Topography of Terror in Berlin. The museum is located where between 1933 and 1945 the SS Reich Main Security Office, the headquarters of the Sicherheitspolizei and the Gestapo used to be. The museum focuses on the Nazi perpetrators.
Ljiljana Radonić visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. The memorial and the permanent exhibition at the Information Center beneath opened in 2005 to commemorate the six million Jewish Nazi victims.
Zuzanna Dziuban visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.. The museum opened in 1993 and is the United States' official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
Zuzanna Dziuban visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York. The museum opened in 1997 and serves not only as a museum on Jewish life but also as a memorial to those who perished at the hand of the Nazis.
Zuzanna Dziuban visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. The memorial opened in 2011, the museum was inaugurated in 2014. It commemorates the 2.977 victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Ljiljana Radonić, Zuzanna Dziuban and André Hertrich visited the former Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen. The visitor center was inaugurated in 2003, the current permanent exhibition opened in 2013.
Ljiljana Radonić, Zuzanna Dziuban and André Hertrich visited the former Nazi concentration camp Gusen. The Audiowalk guides the visitors through the former camp, which mostly is a regular residential area today. The exhibition opened in 2004.