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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
http://www.ushmm.org/
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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Reviewed by:
Wayne Hanley
West Chester University
January 2004






This user-friendly website allows users around the world to virtually visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum. It will certainly not replace the sobering experience of an actual visit to the museum, but it does give the virtual visitor a sample of the types of exhibits on display and provides access to some of the museum’s archival collections, making it a useful site when studying 20th-century European history. The home page is loaded with link options that allow you to explore the history of the holocaust, access educational resources, locate information on researching the holocaust, and learn more about contemporary genocides. For teachers and students, the sections dealing with the history of the holocaust, education, research, and contemporary genocides are the most valuable.

Following the link to History takes the visitor to the Holocaust Learning Center and a host of links to general information on the Holocaust, including brief articles on its victims, the refugees, the camp system, anti-Semitism, and the “Final Solution.” Within each of these cross-referenced articles, keywords are highlighted, and clicking on them will take the reader to related articles and firsthand accounts on those specific topics. This is informative and easy to use.

Education offers readymade lesson plans, teaching ideas, and links to various resources for teachers. For students, a readymade Web quest provides insight into the various topics related to the Holocaust. A handy Glossary link can help students gain a greater understanding of the event and period. This section would be used well in conjunction with the “Online Exhibition” section. “Tracing Their Fate: St. Louis Passangers” provides information about the voyage of the ocean liner S.S. St. Louis. The ship set out from Germany in 1939 with almost a thousand Jewish refugees, seeking asylum first in Cuba and then in the United States. Both governments rejected their pleas for asylum and returned the ship and its passengers to Germany. Many of the passengers would later die in the death camps. Additional links take the reader to digitized artifacts (such as the plan of the ship) and to biographies and first-hand accounts of those who survived the ordeal. Each page, like the history pages, contains key terms that are highlighted, taking the reader to related articles.

Other links, such as Research and Conscience provide valuable additional resources. Inside Research takes the reader to the Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies with links to its Holocaust-Era Assets, Collections, Library, Task Force for International Cooperation, Survivors Registry, and Web Links. The Web Links page provides hyperlinks to nearly 200 topically-arranged Holocaust-related websites. “Conscience” highlights regions, like Sudan and Chechnya, that are currently in the throes of genocide, providing information on those hot spots and reminding us that genocide is not limited to the Holocaust.

The one potential drawback of the USHMM website is that it is image-heavy, so if you are using a slow connection, many of the pages and the PDF files will take some time to load (up to a minute or more). Ironically, many of the hyperlinks to other sites (on the links page) have faster loading speeds. With a fast connection, however, this website can prove an invaluable resource for those teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

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