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Virginia Holocaust Museum

Virginia Holocaust Museum
Established 1997
Location 2000 East Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia
Type Holocaust museum

The Virginia Holocaust Museum is a Virginia, United States, museum dedicated to depicting the Holocaust as experienced by its victims. A main part of the exhibition is about the family story of Holocaust survivor Jay M. Ipson.


  • History 1
  • Exhibits 2
  • Publications 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The museum was founded by Al Rosenbaum,[1] Jay M. Ipson[2] and Mark Fetter in 1997. Rosenbaum created the sculpture of the menorah used in the museum's logo. The museum opened its doors at the current location (2000 E. Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia) on Yom HaShoah in April 2003. There are currently 28 exhibits, with more in the planning.

In the first year of operation, over 10,000 visitors toured the museum. People came from almost every state in the U.S., as well as countries in Europe, Asia and South America. The museum has hundreds of school groups visit the museum each year. Already more than 150,000 people have visited the Virginia Holocaust Museum, about 70 percent are students.

On May 11, 2010 Jay M. Ipson will be the first US-citizen to receive the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award.[3] Austrian Ambassador to the United States of America Dr. Christian Prosl will officially visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum and present this prestigious award.


German soldiers and locals watch a Lithuanian synagogue burn, 9 July 1941

The first exhibit recreates the atmosphere of the Dachau concentration camp. Visitors can either walk through with a tour book or wear a head set and be guided by the voice of Holocaust survivor, Jay Ipson. Ipson was six years old when his family was taken to Kovno Ghetto, and he is now the Executive Director of the museum.

The next exhibit is set in the city of Frankfurt, Germany, and features a radio announcement of "Kristallnacht". Subsequently visitors come to a ghetto exhibit that they can "escape" from by crawling through a tunnel. This escape route recreates the actual experience of the Ipson family.

Other exhibits include a cattle car, used for transporting Jews, a shower/gas chamber, a crematory, and an exhibition of the ship Exodus 1947, the ship that helped launch the nation of Israel. Finally, there is a synagogue, which is a replica of the famous choral synagogue in Lithuania.

In front of the museum is a freight car, which also serves as room of remembrance. This car was endowed to the museum within in project of a German school by a friend of Alex Lebenstein.

Only originally rebuilt Nuremberg Courtroom

In 2007 the Virginia Holocaust Museums celebrated the 10th anniversary.[4] On Yom HaShoah in April 2008 Governor Tim Kaine[5] opened the only originally rebuilt Nuremberg Courtroom ("Palace of Justice") in the United States as new part of the Virginia Holocaust Museum.[6] On November 9, 2009 the documentation "Kristallnacht and Beyond" was showen to the public.[7]

The museum features tours, programs, lectures, films and other events, and many of the emphasized stories are about the experiences of Holocaust survivors that reside or had resided in Richmond. The museum is one of many organizations worldwide where young Austrians can serve their Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service (Gedenkdienst).


  • Izzy's Fire: finding humanity in the Holocaust, Nancy Wright Beasley (2005)
  • To See, to Feel, to Know: Experiencing the Holocaust Through the Virginia Holocaust Museum, Elisabeth Anne Custalow (2005)


  1. ^ Clarke, John D. (2009-04-13). "Al Rosenbaum, co-founder of Virginia Holocaust Museum, dies".  
  2. ^ Jay M. Ipson, Executive director and founder of the Virginia Holocaust Museum,, September 10, 2007
  3. ^ Virginia Holocaust Museum co-founder honored by Austria, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 11, 2010
  4. ^ Hanukkah and the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, Midlothian Exchange, December 13, 2007
  5. ^ Gov. Kaine Opens Exhibit about Nuremberg Trials,, April 21, 2008)
  6. ^ Nuremberg: Courtroom re-created in museum, by Daniel Neman, May 18, 2008
  7. ^ Documentary shows how Henrico Holocaust survivor overcame his hatred for Germany, Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 9, 2009

External links

  • The Virginia Holocaust Museum website
  • Photostream Virginia Holocaust Museums (
  • Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service at the Virginia Holocaust Museum

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