University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Virtual Museum

My Parents by Henry Koerner

The virtual museum was created to give educators, scholars, students and interested individuals a venue to explore art and artists whose work deals with the Holocaust and other genocides.

The artwork on the website represents a variety of artistic responses to the Holocaust.  There is work done as a direct response, created by the victims.  Work like this acts as an artist’s diary or act of witness to the events of brutality and suffering caused by genocide.  Much of this art was created in the camps and ghettos, or recreated immediately after the war in displaced persons camps due to the loss of the originals.

Artwork created in the aftermath of the events by artists (survivors, or descendants of survivors, as well as those who have no direct connection) is a commentary on how art helps us to remember.  It stands as a legacy to these horrific events, and asks how we as future generations can come to terms with the past as well as the present.

As Stephen Feinstein writes in the introduction to Absence and Presence: The Artistic Memory of the Holocaust and Genocide, “Art cannot heal the world and prevent another genocide.”  But what it can do is provide us with knowledge.  He writes that artwork can help us understand “what humanity has the capacity to do and achieve.”  It provides us with a canvas of not just the horror but also of what is lost through genocide, challenging us to dig deeper, to seek the full story.

The majority of the artists hosted on this site had a connection to the Center.  They worked with Dr. Feinstein, had their art in an exhibition that was hosted by CHGS, the University of Minnesota or the community.  Other works have been selected for their relevance or importance to the field of Holocaust and genocide art, and some were donated or found works that dealt directly with the historic events that CHGS researches.

We have also created an educational resource page to aid in using the artwork as a tool to engage students in the study of the Holocaust and other genocides.  It also serves to connect those interested with other websites and artists beyond our site.

For further information on the virtual museum or artistic responses, please contact Jodi Elowitz.

Painting: Henry Koerner, My Parents II, 1946