Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later: Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet

  • The exhibit commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.
  • The exhibit tells the history of the Holocaust from various perspectives: victim, collaborator, onlooker and perpetrator. Auschwitz’s history of systematic and organized genocide provides a stark warning and call to action for those today to stand up against injustice, inhumanity and genocide.
  • The exhibit features artifacts, documents, photographs, videos and personal testimonials of local survivors.
  • The exhibit features over 100 artifacts, many of which have never been seen before. Artifacts include a prisoner’s uniform, a collection of Nazi children’s propaganda books, a sign from a prisoner train bound for Auschwitz and a Haggada that was buried and recovered following the Holocaust.
  • Approximately 1.3 million prisoners (most of whom were Jewish) were deported to Auschwitz, perhaps the most notorious concentration camp of the Holocaust. By the time of its liberation, over 1.1 million had perished.
  • Auschwitz was more than just a single camp of four walls. It was a complex of nearly 30 subcamps spread across an area of fifty miles in Poland.
  • The exhibit features the testimonial of Werner Coppel, born in Germany in 1925. He was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. Before the camp was liberated, he was forced on a death march, from which he escaped into the woods and hid until he heard news of the camp’s liberation on a BBC radio broadcast. Following the war he eventually moved and settled in Cincinnati.
  • The exhibit also features the testimonial of Bella Ouziel, born in Greece in 1925. She was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943, where she and her sister were separated from the rest of her family. Before liberation she was forced on a death march to Bergen-Belsen in Germany and was not liberated until April 15, 1945. Following the war she moved to Cincinnati.
  • Items come from the private collection of Steven F. Cassidy as well as the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Klau Library of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and the Randolph family.
  • The exhibit is curated by the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. The exhibit is designed, fabricated and installed by Cincinnati Museum Center with design assistance from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.