Our Museum houses the largest public collection of personal Holocaust artifacts in Philadelphia belonging to survivors, liberators, and resistors and their families and is open to the public. They tell individual stories of pre-war European life, ghettos and concentration camps, resistance, liberation, resettlement, and transitions to Philadelphia. These precious artifacts, documents, and photographs relate the tragic and inspirational stories of our local survivor community.
We offer personalized Museum Tours for individuals, families, and classes during the week by appointment. These can last anywhere between thirty minutes to more than two hours. We request that you contact us beforehand to schedule a tour.
MS St. Louis
In May 1939, the German liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, to Havana, Cuba, carrying 937 passengers, almost all Jewish refugees. The Cuban government refused to allow the ship to land, and the United States and Canada were unwilling to admit the passengers. The St. Louis passengers were finally permitted to land in western European countries rather than return to Nazi Germany. 254 St. Louis passengers were killed in the Holocaust. Source
Our exhibit features personal items from Adelheid Benjamin, a passenger on the St. Louis. A set of suitcases, a set of Jewish Holiday Prayer books, family photos, and an Iron Cross awarded to her father are in display. During tours, our docents present this exhibit with the question, “What would you take with you if you had to leave home on short notice?” More in depth tours subsequently pose the questions…
- How did the United States respond to the refugee crisis and why?
- What made it difficult for refugees to escape from the Nazis in German-occupied or German-allied western Europe?
- What documents did a refugee need in order to enter the United States, and what did he or she need in order to leave countries in Europe? What factors affected the ability of refugees to successfully complete the visa application process?
Ronnie Breslow, who was on the St. Louis as a child, is one of our speakers and frequently shares her experiences with students and adults. Her presentation, like many others, uses family photos and documents related to the St. Louis.Request a Tour