Imperial War Museums (IWM) London opens the doors to its new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries next week on 20th October.
Spanning two floors and occupying over 3000m2, the £30.7 million project – six years in the making – will examine the Holocaust not as an isolated event but as fundamental to the course and consequences of the Second World War.
More than 3,500 items and personal stories from over 80 countries are to be displayed, including a deconstructed life-size 1940s house showing the impact of the Blitz, objects showing the role of mobile execution units in the Holocaust, photographs of mass shootings, historical documents and a section of concentration camp barrack.
Its Second World War Galleries will highlight how the Second World War affected people from all over the world through the stories of ordinary people.
The Holocaust Galleries tell the individual stories of some of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust through over 2,000 photos, books, artworks, letters and personal objects, from jewellery and clothing to toys and keepsakes.
With the Second World War and the Holocaust soon passing out of living memory, what will be left is “the first-hand testimony of veterans, eyewitnesses and survivors”, explained Diane Lees, Director General of Imperial War Museums.
Lees cites a a recent YouGov poll, which suggests 93% of people believe the Second World War and the Holocaust are “relevant to learn about today” and 78% think that “genocide is currently happening in the world”, and concludes “the opening of these galleries has never been more significant.”