Best Holocaust Museums in the World

A complete list of Holocaust Museum, Attractions, memorials in the world. Find the Best holocaust Museums to visit

What is the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was a period in history at the time of World War II(1939-1945), when millions of Jews were murdered because of who they were. The Holocaust was a process that started with discrimination against Jewish people, and ended with millions of people being killed because of who they were. It was a process that became increasingly brutal over time. The term ‘Holocaust’ can also refer to the orchestrated murder of Roma. Other groups were also targeted by the Nazi regime: disabled people, Soviet Prisoners of War and civilians, Polish civilians, homosexuals, socialists, communists and trades unionists, Freemasons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, in this article, we are focusing on the Holocaust definition in reference to the World War II.

What is a Holocaust Museum?

A Holocaust museum is a museum, learning centre, or an permanent exhibition dedicated to educating and keeping records about the Holocaust. The role of the Holocaust museums is to collect objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance, preserve them, research into them and present them to the public for the purpose of Holocaust education and awareness. A National Holocaust Museum collects objects and materials that are related to a specific nations to the holocaust.

There are many Holocaust museums in the world, and in this article, we will show you a list of amazing places to learn about the Holocaust that is worth visiting when you are travelling. The list of great Holocaust museum includes:

What are the best must-see Holocaust Museums in the world?

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland
  • POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Poland
  • Belzec extermination camp in Poland
  • The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand (HCNZ) in New Zealand
  • The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in Canada
  • Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum in China
  • The Jewish Museum Holocaust and Research Centre in Australia
  • Kazerne Dossin: Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights in Belgian
  • Anne Frank House in Netherlands
  • Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia in Macedonia
  • Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in England UK
  • Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in the United States
  • Museum of Tolerance in the United States
  • Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas, US

There are many more museums that have exhibitions on the Holocaust.

Here are more details about each of the above museums.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland

Originally named Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the memorial was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. It was renamed “AuschwitzBirkenau.

Located in German-occupied Poland, Auschwitz consisted of three camps including a killing center. Auschwitz Birkenau was the largest of the concentration camp complexes created by the Nazi German regime and was the one which combined extermination with forced labour. At the centre of a huge landscape of human exploitation and suffering, the remains of the two camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau were inscribed on the World Heritage List as evidence of this inhumane, cruel and methodical effort to deny human dignity to groups considered inferior, leading to their systematic murder. The camps are a vivid testimony to the murderous nature of the anti-Semitic and racist Nazi policy that brought about the annihilation of over one million people in the crematoria, 90% of whom were Jews. The camps were opened over the course of nearly two years, 1940-1942. Auschwitz closed in January 1945 with its liberation by the Soviet army. The largest of its kind, the Auschwitz camp complex was essential to carrying out the Nazi plan for the “Final Solution.” Auschwitz left its mark as one of the most infamous camps of the Holocaust.The Auschwitz complex differed from the other Nazi killing centers because it included a concentration camp and a labor camp as well as large gas chambers and crematoria at Birkenau constructed for the mass murder of European Jews.

Auschwitz I was constructed for three purposes:

  • To incarcerate real and perceived enemies of the Nazi regime and the German occupation authorities in Poland for an indefinite period of time
  • To provide a supply of forced laborers for deployment in SS-owned construction-related enterprises (and, later, armaments and other war-related production)
  • To serve as a site to kill small, targeted groups of the population whose death was determined by the SS and police authorities to be essential to the security of Nazi Germany.

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

While you are in Poland, you may want to visit this great museum about Polish Jews in Warsaw Poland. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is the first public-private partnership institution formed together by the government, the local government, and a non-governmental organization. In compliance with the signed tripartite agreement, the public partner covered, among others, the cost of the construction of the Museum building and its interior fittings.

The museum stands in the middle of a large, attractive square overlooking the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes which commemorates the first Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. It was designed by Leon Suzin and sculpted by Nathan Rapaport in 1948.The idea for the museum was originally conceived in 1993 at the Jewish Historical Institute but initially struggled to attract investors for what was widely seen as just an idea. Prior to World War II Poland was home to 3.3 million Jews (one of the largest Jewish populations in the world at the time), and a third of Warsaw’s population was Jewish. A millennium of Polish Jewish history is explained in this excellent museum which opened on 28th October, 2014 following many years of planning. The grand opening ceremony was headed by the President of Israel, Reuwen Riwlin and the then Polish President Bronisław Komorowski. In less then a year and a half POLIN won the prestigious award for European Museum of the Year!

Belzec Extermination Camp in Poland

Another place worth visiting in Poland is the Belzec Extermination Camp. Bełżec (pronounced [ˈbɛu̯ʐɛt͡s]) was a Nazi German extermination camp built by the SS for the purpose of implementing the secretive Operation Reinhard, the plan to eradicate Polish Jewry, a key part of the “Final Solution” which entailed the murder of some 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. The camp operated from 17 March 1942 to the end of June 1943. It was situated about 0.5 km (0.31 mi) south of the local railroad station of Bełżec, in the new Distrikt Lublin of the semi-colonial General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. The burning of exhumed corpses on five open-air grids and bone crushing continued until March 1943.

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas, USA

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference. Located in Dallas’ Historic West End, the Museum hosted more than 80,000 visitors in 2018, among them 34,000 school children. A top-rated attraction in North Texas, the Museum is one of just a few Holocaust-related museums or centers in the United States and the only Holocaust museum serving North Central Texas, as well as the adjacent states of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. This city’s first Holocaust Museum was a project of local survivors who outlived Hitler’s attempt to wipe out world Jewry. In the basement of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center on Northaven Road was a memorial to the many friends and relatives those survivors had lost. he Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum’s permanent exhibition covers events that changed our world, in a voice that is intimate and personal. The exhibition highlights the role of world leaders, and also the men and women who found the strength to endure the unimaginable and accomplish the extraordinary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XBW4L-7fA8

Museum of Tolerance in the United States

The Museum of Tolerance receives 350,000 visitors annually, about a third of which are school-age children. The museum’s most talked-about exhibit is “The Holocaust Section”, where visitors are divided into groups to take their own place in some of the events of World War II. The Holocaust Exhibit is a sound-and-light guided, seventy minute dramatic presentation that covers the period from the 1920s to 1945. Visitors are led back in time to become witnesses to events in Nazi-dominated Europe during World War II. These experiences are then discussed afterwards. The museum also features testimonies of Holocaust survivors, often from live volunteers who tell their stories and answer questions. People also get cards with pictures of Jewish children on them and at the end of the museum trip, it is revealed whether the child on the card survived or was murdered in the Holocaust.

The museum features a specially designed room of witness where visitors can see and hear unforgettable stories of the courage and sacrifice of Holocaust victims and survivors. Also, a “Tolerancenter” that discusses issues of prejudice in everyday life, a Multimedia Learning Center, Finding Our Families – Finding Ourselves, a collection of archives and documents, various temporary exhibits such as Los Angeles visual artist Bill Cormalis Jr’s “A” Game In The B Leagues,” which documents through paintings, the Civil Rights Movement during the segregation of colored people in Major League Baseball, and an Arts and Lectures Program.

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in the United States

Another one in the USA, the Los Angeles Museum of The Holocaust boasts the west coast’s largest archive of documents, relics and other primary source materials from the Holocaust period (1933-1945). View our Virtual Tour for detailed descriptions of each area of the Museum.

Tree of Testimony

In collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, LAMOTH installed a 70-screen video sculpture that displays the 52,000 survivor testimonies from the USC Shoah database. Visitors can use their audio guides to listen to any of the 70 testimonies that are being highlighted. Since there are over 50,000 stories and only 70 screens, each Survivor is guaranteed to be shown at least once a year, ensuring that each visitor experiences a different testimony. At any given time, there are survivors speaking in as many as 32 different languages, including Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Ladino, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romani, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sign, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.

18 Camps Interactive

The 18 Camps interactive touch-screens provide an inside look at examples of transit, labor, and death camps throughout Europe. In Judaism, the number 18’s corresponding letters are the word “Chai,” for life. The screens allow visitors to access Holocaust survivor testimonies, along with photos and music, to enhance the visitor experience.

National Holocaust Centre and Museum in England UK

The museum seeks to educate primary school children about the Holocaust through its primary exhibit on children’s experiences, funded in part by a lottery grant of nearly £500,000. The National Holocaust Centre and Museum promotes an understanding of the roots of discrimination and prejudice, and the development of ethical values, leading to a greater understanding within society. The Centre uses the history of genocide as a model of how society can break down, and emphasises how current and future generations must carefully examine and learn from these tragedies. The Centre promotes respect for human rights, equal opportunities and good citizenship, which has greater resonance than ever in our culturally diverse society.
The National Holocaust Centre provides a range of facilities for people of all backgrounds to explore the history and implications of the Holocaust. The vast majority of visitors will spend time in both the memorial garden and our two permanent exhibitions – The Holocaust Exhibition, suitable for secondary school children and adults and The Journey, a text free and tactile exhibition built with younger children in mind. Both exhibitions house artifacts from the period, and as an actively collecting museum, we are continuously developing and strengthening our collection. But what makes a visit particularly unique is meeting a survivor of the Holocaust and listening to their story. We are privileged to host survivors on a daily basis all of whom share their experiences with visitors and answer questions from young and old alike. 

Anne Frank House in Netherlands

The house – and the one next door at number 265, which was later purchased by the museum – was built by Dirk van Delft in 1635. Anne Frank was born in the German city of Frankfurt am Main in 1929. Anne’s sister Margot was three years her senior. Unemployment was high and poverty was severe in Germany, and it was the period in which Adolf Hitler and his party were gaining more and more supporters. Hitler hated the Jews and blamed them for the problems in the country. He took advantage of the rampant antisemitic sentiments in Germany. The hatred of Jews and the poor economic situation made Anne’s parents, Otto and Edith Frank, decide to move to Amsterdam. There, Otto founded a company that traded in pectin, a gelling agent for making jam. The canal-side façade dates from a renovation of 1740, when the rear annex was demolished. It was originally a private residence, then a warehouse, and in the nineteenth century, the front warehouse with its wide stable-like doors was used to house horses. At the start of the 20th century, a manufacturer of household appliances occupied the building, succeeded in 1930 by a producer of piano rolls, who vacated the property by 1939.

Kazerne Dossin: Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights in Belgian

The Museum covered the following aspects of the Final Solution in Belgium and Europe:

  • The rise of the extreme right in Belgium and abroad in the 1930s,
  • The antisemitic policies imposed by occupying Germany,
  • The Jewish resistance and hiding of children,
  • The deportation of the Belgian Jews in convoys.

In 2001, the Flemish Government decided to expand the site by constructing a new museum complex opposite the old barracks. It opened its doors in September 2012 under its present name. Fort Breendonk, a Nazi prison camp near Mechelen, is also open as a museum.

The Jewish Museum Holocaust and Research Centre in Australia

The Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne Australia was founded without significant public or private funds and thus has always had to rely on support from Holocaust survivors, their relatives, volunteers and philanthropists. It is thanks to the unique contribution of Melbourne’s Holocaust survivors that the JHC has become a vibrant institution. The Centre contains a specialist Holocaust library, a collection of over 1300 survivor video testimonials as well as thousands of original documents, photos, artworks and objects from the Holocaust period. Jewish Holocaust Centre The purpose of the JHC is to fight racism and to encourage harmony within the community. It attempts to reach these goals by providing information about the Holocaust through its permanent exhibition and periodic temporary exhibitions. The main focus lies on the younger generation, and over 21,000 students visit the museum every year and participate in a powerful education program. In 2011 the museum was the recipient of the MAGNA Best Small Museum award by Museums Australia, following a redesign of the permanent exhibition.

The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in Canada

The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC) is an acclaimed teaching museum devoted to Holocaust based anti-racism education.

The Centre, a leader in Holocaust education, engages 25,000 students and teachers annually and promotes human rights, social justice and genocide awareness through education and commemoration of the Holocaust.

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum in China

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum is situated in what was once the Jewish Quarter of Shanghai, which had had a Jewish community since the late 19th century, in Hongkou District (formerly rendered as “Hongkew”). After the 1937 Battle of Shanghai, Japan occupied the Chinese sections of Shanghai, but the foreign concessions—the Shanghai International Settlement and the Shanghai French Concession—were still under the control of the European powers. In the 1930s, Nazi Germany encouraged German and Austrian Jews to emigrate, but most countries closed their borders to them, Shanghai and the Dominican Republic being the only exceptions. 20,000 European Jews sought refuge in Shanghai, which did not require a visa to enter, the most of any city in the world.[3] The Ohel Moshe Synagogue was the primary place of worship for the Jewish refugees in Shanghai. Soon after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and declared war on the allies, Japan invaded Shanghai’s foreign concessions and occupied the whole city. The war ended the flow of American funds to the impoverished Jewish refugees. The Japanese imposed restrictions on the Jews, and in 1943 officially established the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees, better known as the Shanghai Ghetto, in Hongkou, forcing most Jews to live there. After World War II, China soon fell into a civil war, which ended in the victory of the Communist Party in 1949, and almost all the Shanghai Jews emigrated by 1956.


Did we miss any good museums? let me know!

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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory