From International Museum Day, on 18 May 2021, many of the personal artefacts of Holocaust survivors who migrated to Sydney, Australia, can now be viewed online on Google Arts & Culture. This new partnership between Google and the Sydney Jewish Museum has brought these items to a worldwide audience in just a few clicks.
Take a tour inside the Sydney Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibitions on Judaism and the Holocaust. Explore the architecture of its heritage building that is nestled in Sydney’s inner eastern suburbs. Explore significant items from the Museum’s unique collection, including:
- The striped uniform jacket worn by the late Holocaust survivor George Grojnowski when he was in Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany.
- A copy of The Poisonous Mushroom, an antisemitic children’s book from 1938 that was part of the Nazi indoctrination program.
- An Olympic torch used in 1972 when Germany hosted the Games for the first time since the notorious 1936 Games.
- The walking stick that belonged to Sir Isaac Isaacs, Australia’s first Jewish and native-born Governor General.
- The Museum’s first and only piece of Nazi-looted art in the collection; a Lithyalin glass bottle belonging to Wilhelm Perlhoefter, which was looted in 1939 and recently repatriated.
Specially curated stories have been developed for online visitors to discover the histories behind many of the Museum’s collection items. These digital stories explore tattoos from Auschwitz, remnants unearthed at the massacre site of Serniki in Ukraine, and the archive photographs of Jewish cameraman Sergeant Mike Lewis from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Sydney Jewish Museum’s CEO, Norman Seligman, said, “We are very proud of our Museum and this partnership with Google Arts & Culture puts us on the world stage. It is a momentous step to have people from all over the world interacting with our unique collection and stories from their computers and devices many miles away. We look forward to engaging with new audiences and sharing the stories behind our collection with a worldwide audience.”
Head Curator of the Museum, Roslyn Sugarman, said, “We hope the online visitor will be inspired to engage with our collection, learn the stories behind the objects and develop a meaningful and empathic connection to history.”
Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said, “The exhibits, resources and stories that are housed in the Sydney Jewish Museum remind us how precarious a just and civil society can be, of how easily it can be subverted, and of what horrors can follow that subversion.
“Through the pandemic, we greatly missed the ability to visit physical spaces, but that
experience has fostered great innovation – it’s wonderful that the Sydney Jewish Museum’s poignant and powerful collection will be open to new audiences, and more accessible for those in Sydney.”
The Federal Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, said: “Everyone should visit the Sydney Jewish Museum in person, if they can. But this terrific digitisation project will give these important artefacts a global audience. We should all know the history of the Holocaust – the stories of those who bore witness, the truth. As Primo Levi put it ‘…we can and must understand from where it [Fascism] springs, and we must be on our guard…because what happened can happen again…For this reason, it is everyone’s duty to reflect on what happened.’”
“It’s great to see such an important collection that has moved and educated people for many years about the terrible history of the Jewish people now able to be seen by people across the globe.” said Mr Alex Greenwich MP, State Member for Sydney.
About Sydney Jewish Museum
The Sydney Jewish Museum is an institution that gives history a voice through collecting and preserving historic objects, commemorating and educating, with a mission to challenge visitors’ perceptions of morality, social justice, democracy and human rights.
The Museum was established in 1992 by the generation of Holocaust survivors who came to Australia. They envisioned the Museum as a place which could hold their stories and personal objects, memorialise those who were murdered during the Holocaust, and within which the lessons from the past would be taught. 29 years since its inception, the Museum continues to give a voice to the victims of the Holocaust so their stories can start conversations and inspire change.
About Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 2,000 museums at your fingertips. It’s an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings to the women’s rights movement and the Taj Mahal. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android.