The "Some Were Neighbors" exhibition tells the story of the attitudes that Europeans adopted towards extermination of Jewish population.
The exhibition examines some of the central questions about the Holocaust: How was the Holocaust possible? The paramount role of Adolf Hitler and other Nazi Party leaders is indisputable, but why did so many ordinary people throughout Europe support the Nazis’ crimes or remain silent? Why did so few aid those at risk? Why did some people not give in to the opportunities and temptations to betray their fellow human beings, reminding us that there is an alternative to complicity in evil acts – even in extraordinary times?
In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013, a special exhibition "Some Were Neighbors" was created and ran through 2017.
After the original exhibit closed in Washington, the Museum created an easy-to-display traveling version for international use. A number of European and international educators indicated the exhibition would be helpful in teaching their students that individuals have agency. By examining the choices that ordinary people made in the past, students can reflect on their roles and responsibilities today.
The traveling version of the exhibition has been translated into 10 languages and has so far been presented in 21 countries. In Germany, it has been on display since 2019, and it was presented at the United Nations headquarters on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2020. In Poland, the Some Were Neighbors exhibition opened for the first time in January 2022 at the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews During World War II.
About United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A nonpartisan, federal education institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust dedicated to ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding, and relevance. Through the power of Holocaust history, the Museum challenges leaders and individuals worldwide to think critically about their role in society and to confront antisemitism and other forms of hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. For more information, visit ushmm.org.
The exhibition was made possible in part by the support of The David Berg Foundation, The Oliver Stanton Foundation, The William & Sheila Konar Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Benjamin and Seema Pulier Charitable Foundation, Sy and Laurie Sternberg, The Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund founded in 1990.