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The voice of history for 30 years

In 2022, we celebrate 30 years of the Sydney Jewish Museum. While three decades have brought about much growth and expansion of the Museum, our commitment to sharing stories of Holocaust survivors for the benefit of humanity has never waivered.

A number of staff from those early days still grace our office each day and many of our founding survivors still come to share their experiences, start conversations and inspire change. We remain a living museum: a place where Jewish cultural life and heritage in Sydney is illuminated and preserved, where memories are honoured and history is researched.

Image: The Museum’s Culture and Continuity: Journey through Judaism exhibition.

The voice of history for 30 years

In 2022, we celebrate 30 years of the Sydney Jewish Museum. While three decades have brought about much growth and expansion of the Museum, our commitment to sharing stories of Holocaust survivors for the benefit of humanity has never waivered.

A number of staff from those early days still grace our office each day and many of our founding survivors still come to share their experiences, start conversations and inspire change. We remain a living museum: a place where Jewish cultural life and heritage in Sydney is illuminated and preserved, where memories are honoured and history is researched.

Image: The Museum’s Culture and Continuity: Journey through Judaism exhibition.

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1992:

Hundreds attend the Museum opening on 18 November

It was an emotional event for Holocaust survivors whose dream was now a reality.

Sydney finally had a Jewish Museum: a place to commemorate the six million Jewish people who were murdered in the Holocaust – where survivors could speak for those who had lost their voice.

Image: Holocaust survivors in the Museum. 1992.

1992:

Hundreds attend the Museum opening on 18 November

It was an emotional event for Holocaust survivors whose dream was now a reality.

Sydney finally had a Jewish Museum: a place to commemorate the six million Jewish people who were murdered in the Holocaust – where survivors could speak for those who had lost their voice.

Image: Holocaust survivors in the Museum. 1992.

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1994:

Schindler’s List premiers

The release of Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List in February of 1994 brought an influx of visitors interested in learning more about the Holocaust after seeing the film. A gala charity premiere of the film was held at them Museum, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Museum (pictured).

The Sanctum of Remembrance is opened

The Sanctum provided many survivors and their families with a place to pay their respects to their loved ones who had no gravestones. It has continued to expand since its opening in 1994 to hold approximately 600 dedications.

1994:

Schindler’s List premiers

The release of Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List in February of 1994 brought an influx of visitors interested in learning more about the Holocaust after seeing the film. A gala charity premiere of the film was held at them Museum, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Museum (pictured).

The Sanctum of Remembrance is opened

The Sanctum provided many survivors and their families with a place to pay their respects to their loved ones who had no gravestones. It has continued to expand since its opening in 1994 to hold approximately 600 dedications.

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1995:

The Library opens

The Museum library is opened by Bob Hawke, Prime Minister AC GCL (pictured), thanks to funds raised by John Saunders AO and members of the community.

The 50th Anniversary of Liberation is commemorated

The highlight of the Museum’s commemoration events was the tribute evening at the Sydney Opera House. The audience of 2,000 people was treated to an evening of music, a stellar array of speakers, both local and from overseas – liberators, survivors and descendants.

1995:

The Library opens

The Museum library is opened by Bob Hawke, Prime Minister AC GCL (pictured), thanks to funds raised by John Saunders AO and members of the community.

The 50th Anniversary of Liberation is commemorated

The highlight of the Museum’s commemoration events was the tribute evening at the Sydney Opera House. The audience of 2,000 people was treated to an evening of music, a stellar array of speakers, both local and from overseas – liberators, survivors and descendants.

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1999:

Within the Walls: The Theresienstadt Ghetto exhibition opens

This was the first major temporary exhibition by the Museum since 1996.

It was also the first travelling exhibition. A massive hailstorm significantly damaged the building, forcing the Museum to close for a month for repairs.

This did not deter record numbers of people flocking to the Museum to see the exhibition (pictured).

1999:

Within the Walls: The Theresienstadt Ghetto exhibition opens

This was the first major temporary exhibition by the Museum since 1996.

It was also the first travelling exhibition. A massive hailstorm significantly damaged the building, forcing the Museum to close for a month for repairs.

This did not deter record numbers of people flocking to the Museum to see the exhibition (pictured).

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2002:

The Children’s Memorial opens

The Children’s Memorial is one of the most moving spaces in the Sydney Jewish Museum.

It was inspired by Mary Ziegler’s desire for her sister, Malka, and all of the 1.5 million child victims of the Holocaust, to never be forgotten.

Since the opening of the Memorial, nearly 500 names and photographs have been collected.

Image: visitors in the newly-opened Children’s Memorial in 2002.

 

2002:

The Children’s Memorial opens

The Children’s Memorial is one of the most moving spaces in the Sydney Jewish Museum.

It was inspired by Mary Ziegler’s desire for her sister, Malka, and all of the 1.5 million child victims of the Holocaust, to never be forgotten.

Since the opening of the Memorial, nearly 500 names and photographs have been collected.

Image: visitors in the newly-opened Children’s Memorial in 2002.

 

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2005:

The Liberation, Life and Lamingtons event  commemorates the 60th Anniversary of Liberation

Holocaust survivors are photographed with their families, highlighting their powerful ability to regrow the Jewish family trees cut down by the Holocaust.

Image: Scheinberg Family photo.

 

2005:

The Liberation, Life and Lamingtons event  commemorates the 60th Anniversary of Liberation

Holocaust survivors are photographed with their families, highlighting their powerful ability to regrow the Jewish family trees cut down by the Holocaust.

Image: Scheinberg Family photo.

 

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2009:

The Culture and Continuity – Journey through Judaism exhibition is opened by Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General of Australia

The first refurbishment of the Museum’s permanent exhibition space takes place with this opening on the ground floor. Australian Governor General, Quentin Bryce AC, officiates (pictured).

2009:

The Culture and Continuity – Journey through Judaism exhibition is opened by Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General of Australia

The first refurbishment of the Museum’s permanent exhibition space takes place with this opening on the ground floor. Australian Governor General, Quentin Bryce AC, officiates (pictured).

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2010:

The exhibition, Serving Australia: Jewish Contribution in Australian Military History, is opened by General Peter Cosgrove AC MC

The Museum expands its permanent exhibition space yet again, with this exhibition which tells the stories of the Jewish men and women who have contributed to Australia through military service.

2010:

The exhibition, Serving Australia: Jewish Contribution in Australian Military History, is opened by General Peter Cosgrove AC MC

The Museum expands its permanent exhibition space yet again, with this exhibition which tells the stories of the Jewish men and women who have contributed to Australia through military service.

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2012:

The temporary exhibition, Dressing Sydney: The Jewish Fashion Story, opens

This exciting feature exhibition opened 14 October 2012 to much fanfare. It received visitors from all over Sydney and greater NSW.

 

2012:

The temporary exhibition, Dressing Sydney: The Jewish Fashion Story, opens

This exciting feature exhibition opened 14 October 2012 to much fanfare. It received visitors from all over Sydney and greater NSW.

 

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2015:

The Museum’s refurbished education and exhibition spaces are opened by the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP

The Museum continues to grow with the addition of new spaces, including the NAB Education and Resource Centre.

This new space has not only allowed for increased student numbers but provides a dynamic space for many events and cements the Museum as a cultural hub for the Jewish community.

2015:

The Museum’s refurbished education and exhibition spaces are opened by the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP

The Museum continues to grow with the addition of new spaces, including the NAB Education and Resource Centre.

This new space has not only allowed for increased student numbers but provides a dynamic space for many events and cements the Museum as a cultural hub for the Jewish community.

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2017:

The refurbished Holocaust exhibition is opened by the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister AC

After nearly five years of development, the new Holocaust exhibition is officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 19 March 2017 to much praise.

2017:

The refurbished Holocaust exhibition is opened by the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister AC

After nearly five years of development, the new Holocaust exhibition is officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 19 March 2017 to much praise.

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2018:

The Holocaust and Human Rights exhibition is opened by Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow

Three years in the making, the exhibition explores the various human rights achievements and challenges facing Australia today.

The space, fitted with interactive technologies, encourages visitors to deeply reflect upon personal responsibility to stand up for the rights of all, including refugees and asylum seekers, people with disabilities, First Nations peoples, and the LGBTIQ+ community.

2018:

The Holocaust and Human Rights exhibition is opened by Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow

Three years in the making, the exhibition explores the various human rights achievements and challenges facing Australia today.

The space, fitted with interactive technologies, encourages visitors to deeply reflect upon personal responsibility to stand up for the rights of all, including refugees and asylum seekers, people with disabilities, First Nations peoples, and the LGBTIQ+ community.

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2019:

Jukebox Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl opens

Visitors to this feature exhibition are taken on a journey of the senses through musical tunes and walls of hundreds of vibrant record covers, to unfold a surprising history of a universal language.

Visitor numbers reach an all-time high

A milestone 30,000 students visit the Museum.

2019:

Jukebox Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl opens

Visitors to this feature exhibition are taken on a journey of the senses through musical tunes and walls of hundreds of vibrant record covers, to unfold a surprising history of a universal language.

Visitor numbers reach an all-time high

A milestone 30,000 students visit the Museum.

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2020:

Jews from Islamic Lands opens

This exhibition traces the lives of Jews living in the Middle East, Asia Minor, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula from ancient times. It tells a tapestry of stories from across these regions, of flourishing, tolerance, expulsion and displacement, as well as how these Jews have continued to celebrate their vibrant cultures in new places across the world.

COVID-19

2020 is also the year that COVID-19 emerges. As a result of lockdowns, the Museum closes its doors for months.

2020:

Jews from Islamic Lands opens

This exhibition traces the lives of Jews living in the Middle East, Asia Minor, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula from ancient times. It tells a tapestry of stories from across these regions, of flourishing, tolerance, expulsion and displacement, as well as how these Jews have continued to celebrate their vibrant cultures in new places across the world.

COVID-19

2020 is also the year that COVID-19 emerges. As a result of lockdowns, the Museum closes its doors for months.

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2021:

Lockdown prevents the 40-metre mural by artist Wendy Sharpe from ever being seen by the public

In July 2021, Wendy set about painting 40 metres of empty wall space with a mural of memories from her journey to Kamianets-Podilskyi, and what she learned about her family history.

The artist discovered that her grandmother used to sing a song – Vu iz dos Gesele (Where is the Little Street)? The lyrics capture the loss and longing so central to the Jewish experience, yet it also resonates with many displaced people.

2021:

Lockdown prevents the 40-metre mural by artist Wendy Sharpe from ever being seen by the public

In July 2021, Wendy set about painting 40 metres of empty wall space with a mural of memories from her journey to Kamianets-Podilskyi, and what she learned about her family history.

The artist discovered that her grandmother used to sing a song – Vu iz dos Gesele (Where is the Little Street)? The lyrics capture the loss and longing so central to the Jewish experience, yet it also resonates with many displaced people.

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2022:

Looking to the future with more moving stories to tell

Interactive Holocaust survivor biographies

We recently embarked on a project to bring Holocaust survivor stories to life using cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology (pictured). For generations to come, the interactive biographies of six Sydney-based Holocaust survivors will ensure that visitors in the future will be able to have meaningful experiences with important eyewitnesses to history.

Bringing new exhibition spaces to life 

The Museum has been undergoing major upgrades to our archives and exhibition spaces. In the second half of this year, we will open a new feature exhibition showcasing the work of Sir Sidney Nolan, who is best known for his paintings of bushranger Ned Kelly. This exhibition will mark the first time his works related to the Holocaust appear publicly in Australia. We will also launch our long-anticipated testimony exhibition, debuting the interactive survivor biographies, alongside 30 years of unseen Holocaust survivor footage.

2022:

Looking to the future with more moving stories to tell

Interactive Holocaust survivor biographies

We recently embarked on a project to bring Holocaust survivor stories to life using cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology (pictured). For generations to come, the interactive biographies of six Sydney-based Holocaust survivors will ensure that visitors in the future will be able to have meaningful experiences with important eyewitnesses to history.

Bringing new exhibition spaces to life 

The Museum has been undergoing major upgrades to our archives and exhibition spaces. In the second half of this year, we will open a new feature exhibition showcasing the work of Sir Sidney Nolan, who is best known for his paintings of bushranger Ned Kelly. This exhibition will mark the first time his works related to the Holocaust appear publicly in Australia. We will also launch our long-anticipated testimony exhibition, debuting the interactive survivor biographies, alongside 30 years of unseen Holocaust survivor footage.

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A timeline showing the history of the Sydney Jewish Museum

Click on the years below to discover major milestones from the last 30 years