This list has been compiled of some of the Museum’s more recent public programs on the Holocaust to cover this enormous—and especially important—subject. From survivors, to liberators and scholars, the Museum has been honored to host many events, both onsite and virtually. Here are a few of them.
“Surviving Against All Odds” with Holocaust Survivor Steven Hess
In observance of the 2021 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The National WWII Museum presented a virtual webinar with Mr. Steven Hess. He and his twin, Marion Ein Lewin, were born 45 minutes apart on January 14, 1938, in Amsterdam, Holland—children of German-Jewish refugees who had fled the Nazis.
They are among the few twins who survived the concentration camps, and at this point quite possibly the last. Following the Nazi invasion and occupation, the Hess family was first taken to the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork before being sent to Bergen-Belsen, where they managed to survive for over a year. They were among the fewer than five percent of Jews deported from Holland still alive at war’s end. Hess speaks about their experiences and how they survived against all odds, placing his family’s story within the greater context of the Holocaust in Europe.
“Dimensions in Testimony: Liberator Alan Moskin”
The Museum was honored to host Dimensions in Testimony: Liberator Alan Moskin, an initiative from USC Shoah Foundation that enabled visitors to have a personalized, one-on-one “conversation” with Staff Sergeant Alan Moskin, a member of the 66th Infantry Regiment, 71st Infantry Division, who helped liberate Gunskirchen concentration camp in Austria.
Through the Dimensions in Testimony interactive biography, visitors were able to ask questions to a digital display of Moskin and hear real-time responses from his pre-recorded video interviews. One of the highlights of the public programming schedule was the webinar featuring Mr. Moskin who answered questions and shared his story live with the audience.
“Behind Enemy Lines” with Marthe Cohn
On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018, French Jewish Spy Marthe Cohn shared her amazing story of courage and persistence. When the Nazis crossed the border and invaded France in 1940, Marthe and her family fled to the south of the country.
She joined the French Army as part of the intelligence service and set out on missions behind enemy lines. Posing as a young German nurse desperate to find her fiancé, Marthe successfully retrieved critical information about German troop movements and reported it to the Allies. The presentation begins with a short (10 minutes) documentary on Marthe’s life, then she takes the rest of the time to provide her own firsthand account.
"X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II" with Leah Garrett, PhD
To round out the list is a wonderful conversation that I had with author Leah Garrett, PhD, on her recently released book X Troop. This book, and the conversation organized around it, cover a remarkable story about the men of X Troop, who were the real Inglorious Basterds: a secret commando unit of young Jewish refugees trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat to deliver decisive blows against the Nazis.
They fought for the British against the Nazis on the front lines of all the major battles of World War II. The commandos were Holocaust survivors from Austria and Germany who came to the UK on Kindertransports.
Jeremy Collins joined The National WWII Museum in 2001 as an intern, and now oversees the institution’s public programming initiatives.