Sydney Jewish Museum
History and museums
The Sydney Jewish Museum is a museum in Sydney, Australia, which documents the Holocaust and the history of the Jewish people in Australia. The museum is located at 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, and is housed in the historic Maccabean Hall built to commemorate Jewish men and women from New South Wales who served in World War I. This New South Wales Jewish War Memorial, formally opened by Sir John Monash on Armistice Day 1923, has long been a hub of Jewish life in Sydney and was judged an appropriate site for the Sydney Jewish Museum.
The museum was officially opened by the Governor of New South Wales, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AC, on 18 November 1992. Founded by the late John Saunders AO and members of the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, the museum cost close to $6 million, paid for by its benefactor, Mr. Saunders, a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz and Dornhau camps. The museum records the contribution such survivors have made to their adopted country. Australia has a higher proportion of Holocaust survivors (per capita) than any country except Israel.
There are eight exhibition areas containing both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The exhibits deal with both Australian Jewry (Jewish migration to Australia from convict days to the present); and the Holocaust. The permanent exhibitions include the following:
The museum provides a range of tours: free guided tours on selected days and priced group tours tailored to specific requirements. Tours are of two hours duration and include an introductory film and tour of the permanent exhibitions. The museum operates as an institute dedicated to Holocaust education. It provides a range of programs for teachers and students of primary and secondary education linked to NSW Board of Studies Syllabus outcomes. Programs include personal testimony from Holocaust survivors and their descendants.
The museum library was created from the entire collection of books donated by Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Since then, the Resource Centre and Library has grown to over 6000 volumes, journals, audio and videotapes, including over 2,500 personal testimonies of Holocaust survivors in Australia. The centre is open to the public during museum hours and staffed by a librarian. The collection provides material for the exhibitions and covers a wide range of themes including anti-Semitism, war crimes, holocaust in art and literature, and Australian Jewish history.