I truly hope you enjoy your visit to the Joseph and Myra Brandman Virtual Holocaust Memorial Museum. I highly recommend that you listen to the suggested music during your visit.
About the Curator: David Sherrin teaches Social Studies at Scarsdale High School in Westchester. He formally taught at Harvest Collegiate in New York City, where he was a founding teacher and has served as department chair, instructional coach, and Master Teacher. He is also the author of The Classes They Remember: Using Role-Plays to Bring Learning to Life and Judging for Themselves: Using Mock Trials to Bring Learning to Life. Read more about David's educational philosophy here.
Hours: The museum is open 24/7, 365 days a year
Cost: There is no charge for admission. However, we do recommend a small donation to a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting injustice, discrimination, genocides, slavery and/or anti-Semitism. You may also consider supporting an organization that helps refugees.
Visitor's Guide: You can download this helpful visitor's guide to make the most out of your visit.
A Note for Teachers: There is considerable information in this museum and you will need to think carefully about how to direct your students' time with the various exhibits. Depending on your students' reading levels and the amount of time that you have, I recommend you use groupwork strategies such as a jigsaw. For example, you might have each student in a group look at a different artifact about the Weimar Republic and then share out with each other. You will also probably want to save one day to watch Joseph Brandman's video testimony in the Destruction exhibit. Lastly, remember that each exhibit has an audio recording of the background to help struggling readers accompany the text.
A Note on Sources: The existence of this museum owes tremendous debt to the work of countless scholars of Holocaust history. The historiography page references many of these great intellectuals. Additionally, the museum relies heavily on the resources made available by four excellent websites:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
German History in Documents and Images
The information about my grandparents' stories came mostly from my interview notes that I took in a discussion with them probably in the year 2003. I believe I took the video testimony of my grandfather in 2005. While my grandparents, and Joseph in particular, had extraordinary memories, I corroborated the information, including dates and numbers, with data provided by the USHMM. I found a remarkable degree of accuracy in my grandparents' memories.
Most of the artifacts about my grandparent's story, including their pictures, came from the hard work of my mother, Elenore Brandman, my aunt and uncle Frieda and Abe Anolik, and my cousin Jill Katzman. They dug through my grandparents' albums and keepsakes to find important sources to tell and show their story.
Additionally, I used the book On the Brink of Nowhere by Meir Levenstein to contextualize the experiences of Latvian Jews and fill in a few holes in the story. This was a book that my grandparents owned, written by a Latvian Holocaust survivor . It appears that Rabbi Paul Silton of Temple Israel in Albany worked with other members of the Albany Jewish community to translate the book from Hebrew and publish it in 1983.
Please contact me to share what you have thought about the museum and what you have learned!