Some Were Neighbors: Choice, Human Behavior & The Holocaust

Temporary exhibitions

My events

Add your favourite events to My events section to have them always at your fingertips.

  • Thursday, June 30, 2022, 6:00 PM - Tuesday, January 31, 2023

An exhibition created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 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?

“I am glad that this important exhibition will be available for visitors at the Galicia Jewish Museum. The topics it deals with are extremely important to us. It describes processes the understanding of which allows us not only to learn about the situation during the war, but also the behaviors that shape contemporary Polish-Jewish relations. Questions of help, indifference or betrayal are themes that constantly recur in Polish and Polish-Jewish discussions of the past. But the context in which the exhibition is opened also gives it special significance. The war in Ukraine, the cruel crimes committed by Russian soldiers against civilians and, finally, the unprecedented reaction of Polish society, make it clear that the themes touched upon in the exhibition are not only important, but also, unfortunately, still very relevant,” says Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum.

“Examining history helps us understand how people at another time in another set of circumstances made important choices, and the consequences of those choices.” says Sara J. Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Some Were Neighbors challenges visitors to reflect on the full range of behaviors that made the Holocaust possible. It is a stark reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference – for better or for worse. Today we are also living in a great historical moment. Every day, the war in Ukraine is a reminder of the warning signs we all saw but failed to appreciate in Vladimir Putin’s various attempts over many years criminalizing historical truth to control the national narrative and mythologizing history to justify a political — and now a brutal military — agenda. Inspired by the resilience and resistance of the Ukrainian people and the wholehearted response of the Polish people, we rededicate ourselves to the principle of preserving, teaching and publicly discussing historical truth and its pivotal role in democracy.” 

About the Some Were Neighbors Exhibition
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 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. To date, the exhibit has also been shown in cooperation with the History Meeting House in Warsaw and Pan Tadeusz Museum in Wrocław.

Onlookers watch as police load Jews onto trucks for deportation. Kerpen, Germany, 1942. Stadtarchiv Kerpen



Kraków Travel
Kids in Kraków
Close We use cookies to facilitate the use of our services. If you do not want cookies to be saved on your hard drive, change the settings of your browser.