Welcome to Curators’ Corner, a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum’s collections and the stories they bring to life. In this monthly series, Museum staff narrate the stories behind artifacts, photographs, and documents in our collections. We invite you to begin discussions by adding your own comments and questions (via text, voice, and video).
June 21, 2012
Risk and Resistance: The Elise Kann Jaeger Collection
When Germany occupied the Netherlands, a young Elise Kann went into hiding with Molly and Jerry van Heel. Though she once walked in on Jerry while he was forging identification cards, it wasn’t until decades later that Elise learned the full story behind his and Molly’s efforts to rescue Jews. Curator Susan Snyder explains the significance of the van Heels’ forging materials, which Elise donated to the Museum.
March 27, 2012
A Survivor's Contribution to the US War Effort: The Joseph Eaton Collection
The Joseph Eaton Collection documents the Holocaust from two angles. Eaton was both a refugee from Nazi Germany and a member of the US Army during World War II, and the photos, letters, and papers he donated reveal his official—and unofficial—efforts to combat Nazism and aid its victims. Judith Cohen, the Museum's photo archivist, narrates.
January 23, 2012
“I Have to Write Everything Down”: The Diaries of Selma and Chaim Engel
Selma Wijnberg and Chaim Engel met and fell in love in the Sobibor killing center. After the young couple made a daring escape during the camp uprising and fled into hiding, Selma began a diary to record their experiences. Learn about this unique testimony to history and love in this episode of Curators' Corner. Narrated by Archivist Rebecca Erbelding.
December 2, 2011
Testimonies of Survival: Diaries from a Slave Labor Camp
In the course of her work, Curator Susan Snyder realized that the Museum's collection included several diaries created by female slave laborers at Sömmerda, a little-known subcamp of Buchenwald. She recalls in this episode what she learned about the women, Sömmerda, and how the discovery led to the acquisition of more of these diaries.
September 28, 2011
“An Over Fifteen-Year Journey”: The Robert M. W. Kempner Collection
In this episode, the Museum's former Chief Archivist, Henry Mayer, tells the story of how the Museum acquired the vast Robert M. Kempner Collection—an effort that took well over a decade—and highlights some of its historically significant contents.
July 28, 2011
Documenting Nazi Persecution of Gays: The Josef Kohout/Wilhelm Kroepfl Collection
In 1994, the Museum acquired the unique collection of Josef Kohout. More widely known as Heinz Heger, Kohout's experiences are the subject of The Men with the Pink Triangle, the first published account of a gay survivor of the Nazi camps. Dr. Klaus Müller, the Museum's Representative for Europe, shares his story.
April 21, 2011
A Symbol of Hope: Louise Lawrence-Israels’ Chair
Louise Lawrence-Israels spent her early years in hiding in Amsterdam, but, her parents had the “will to give their children a normal upbringing.” Learn how a doll’s chair she received for her second birthday became a symbol of her family’s survival. Curator Susan Snyder, and Lawrence-Israels, a Museum volunteer, narrate this episode.
March 1, 2011
Accidental Witnesses to History: The Baker Collection
Helen and Ross Baker were Americans living in Vienna when Germany annexed Austria in March of 1938. Through letters, a diary, and film, they recorded their firsthand account of the events. Learn how they enrich the historical record and the Museum's collections. Told by Film Researcher Leslie Swift.
February 1, 2011
“To the Memory of My Parents”: Michael Kraus’ Diaries
Having lost both of his parents in concentration camps, Michael Kraus began writing a series of diaries that documented his and their experiences. As archivist Rebecca Erbelding shares in this episode, they are unique records--beautifully illustrated and made in the direct wake of the Holocaust.
December 17, 2010
A Wealth of Rarity: The Weilheimer Family Collection
Visual documentation of Jewish spiritual practice in the camps is rare. See how curator Kyra Schuster’s pursuit of a photo of a prisoner at Gurs lighting Hannukah candles led her to a whole family’s collection of documents that is unique in many ways.
December 1, 2010
Surviving Theresienstadt: The Michael Gruenbaum Collection
Photo Archivist Judith Cohen explains in this episode of Curators’ Corner how a scrapbook and “memory book” from the Michael Gruenbaum Collection provide a rare view into life in Theresienstadt, the Nazis’ “model” camp-ghetto.
September 14, 2010
George Mandel-Mantello and his Mission to Rescue Europe’s Jews
Learn how a Hungarian Jew -- with the tacit approval and diplomatic authority of the Salvadoran consul in Switzerland -- launched an effort to rescue thousands of Jews across the continent. Judy Cohen, director of the Museum’s Photographic Reference Archive, narrates this episode of Curators’ Corner.
August 31, 2010
Morris Troper and the Passengers of the St. Louis
In this episode of Curators’ Corner, curator Susan Snyder tells two stories. One shares the significance and poignancy of the Morris Troper Collection, which documents the work of the man who negotiated safe refuge for the hundreds of Jewish refugees who fled the Third Reich aboard the St. Louis in 1939. The other is about how the collections that make their way to the Museum become a rich, intertwining source of evidence about the Holocaust.
June 3, 2010
Alice Goldberger and the Children of Weir Courtney
After the Holocaust, the British government provided aid to over 700 child survivors. Several of these children came under the nurturing care of Alice Goldberger at Weir Courtney. Hundreds of their writings and drawings – depicting happy scenes from their post-war lives – form the core of the museum’s Alice Goldberger Collection. Learn more about Alice, her wards, and this collection in the fifth episode of Curators’ Corner, narrated by archivist Rebecca Erbelding.
March 30, 2010
One Survivor, Two Identities: The Kurt Lewin Collection
Kurt Lewin, son of the Chief Rabbi of Lvov, survived the Holocaust by hiding as a young monk. In the fourth episode of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Curators’ Corner, archivist Rebecca Erbelding presents Lewin’s story through a collection of documents he donated to the Museum, which is rare in its ability to show the changing identities of a person before, during and after being in hiding.
February 23, 2010
A Cherished Object: Kristine Keren's Green Sweater
Narrated by curator Susan Snyder, the third episode of Curators’ Corner features the story behind the donation of a young girl’s green sweater—a gift from her grandmother that she wore while hiding from the Nazis in the sewers of Lvov, Poland for fourteen months.
December 23, 2009
From Image to Rescue: The Gavra Mandil Collection
In this special episode, curator Teresa Pollin tells the story of how a single, unusual photograph spared Moshe Mandil’s family from arrest by Germans, and how a young Albanian Muslim man ultimately saved their lives.
December 1, 2009
A Surprising Discovery: “Kiki” the Monkey Puppet
The first episode of Curators' Corner features Kyra Schuster recounting the serendipitous story of how the Museum came to acquire a puppet that US Army medic Eldon Nicholas used to entertain children at the Vittel internment camp in France.