We all know that New York City has a host of world-class museums. And many of them are based on ethnicity, but also appeal to a wider interest and have a broad mission.
One of the most intriguing is the Museum of Jewish Heritage—and its current program, one of the most important any museum has come up with: Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away.
It is really more than a “program.” It is an immersive experience that, somehow, is able to go even beyond the museum’s stated mission of being “a living memorial to the Holocaust.”
For most of this spring, three floors of the museum are dedicated to just one troubling symbol of that time—Auschwitz. It was the killing fields of the Nazi empire, embracing a myriad of ways to exterminate, or to devalue, those the German leaders believed were inferior or presented a danger to the empire.
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Originally set up as a prison for political prisoners and “undesirables” such as gypsies, Auschwitz became the morbid site of 1.3 million deaths—1.1 million of them Jews, who arrived in cattle cars, under the thumb of special guards trained to be vicious…