The Concentration Camps:Inside the Nazi System of Incarceration and Genocide
This original exhibition at the Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center surveys the scope and brutality of the Nazi system of incarceration and genocide, underscoring the horrific consequences of antisemitism, racism, and authoritarianism. Approximately 44,000 concentration camps and ghettos existed across Nazi-occupied Europe and North Africa during World War II. These incarceration sites, which Adolf Hitler used as a mechanism to terrorize and eliminate non-Aryan groups (those seen as “subhuman,” “useless eaters,” and not part of the pure, white, Germanic race), ranged from small barns to compounds with populations of a medium-sized city. These extensive networks of ghettos, transit camps, women’s camps, forced labor camps, and extermination camps, to name a few, played a central role in the Holocaust—the annihilation of six million Jews—as well as the mass murder of millions more Poles, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, people with disabilities, social outcasts, Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as other political and religious opponents. In addition to the exhibit’s text, images, and artifacts, personal testimonies from local Holocaust survivors offer painful insights into these excruciating landscapes of degradation and dehumanization.
Click here to listen to the CUNY podcast about how the exhibit was created, as well as its significance to the community and beyond.
Click here to watch a clip about the exhibition on CUNY TV’s January 2023 episode of Arts in the City.
This exhibit is curated by Cary Lane, Ph.D., the KHC 2020-21 Curator-in-Residence and Associate Professor of English at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. Dr. Lane worked with Jason Tingler, Ph.D., KHC Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Robyn Schwartz, Graphic Designer; Nicholas Caccese, Film Editor; Sean Simpson, Videographer, as well as QCC-KHC Student Curatorial Fellows Aliza Perlmutter, Jhordain Roberts, Manuel Souffrant, and Nicholas Richards; and KHC Curatorial Interns Alexia Wang, Anika Chowdhury, Ashleigh Requijo, Calista Requijo, Eliana Ellerton, Kristen Morgenstern, Noah Benus, and Shani Bornstein.
Past ExhibitsView all past exhibits
The exhibition addresses the histories and present-day realities of the first people of this continent through contemporary Native American art. Turtle Island is the name given to North America by the Anishinabek, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and the Lenape—some of the Indigenous people of this region. The artists address survivance: a term that emphasizes both cultural survival and resistance in the face of hundreds of years of genocide and mass atrocities.View Exhibit
This exhibition tells the story of how an isolated Huguenot community in the Haute-Loire region, saved 3,500 Jews from Nazi Germany and the soldiers of Vichy France. Villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the surrounding villages, joined together to conceal, rescue, and provide false documentation for Jews and French Resistance fighters, at great risk to their own lives. Click below to explore the interactive exhibit which includes a library study guide, exhibit-related videos, as well as a printed catalogue.View Exhibit
In July of 2015, the KHC was contacted by a vintage clothing dealer about a recent acquisition of a unique garment at an estate sale. In the back of a walk-in closet, amid a variety of old shirts and vintage dresses, hung a faded striped jacket. We now know Benzion Peresecki, a young Jewish man from Lithuania, wore this jacket for ten months in Dachau and kept it for 33 years. Click below to explore the interactive exhibit which includes a library study guide, exhibit-related videos, artifacts, as well as a printed catalogue.View Exhibit
In the mid-1930s an organization called the German-American Bund established fifteen summer camps throughout the United States, including one in then-bucolic Yaphank on Long Island. This exhibit exposes the work and the propaganda activities of the Bund at the time when the threat of Nazism seemed foreign to the U.S., certainly to the hinterland of Long Island. It also underlines the role that Camp Siegfried played in spreading Nazi propaganda in our own backyard, until it went out of business after the summer of 1939.View Exhibit