The Ghetto Fighters’ House – An Introduction
The Ghetto Fighters’ House – Itzhak Katzenelson Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum was founded in 1949 by a community of Holocaust survivors, members of the Jewish underground in the ghettos of Poland, and veterans of partisan units, to be a place of testimony that would tell the story of the Jewish People in the 20th century in general, and during the Second World War in particular. At the center of this chronicle are the manifestations of Jewish resistance: the organized uprisings of Jews in the ghettos and camps, and the Jews who fought in partisan units and the armies of the Allied forces. The Ghetto Fighters’ House, the first museum in the world to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust and Jewish resistance, is the highest expression of its founders’ commitment to educational activity on the subject of the Holocaust, in Israel and on a global level.
The Mission of the Ghetto Fighters’ House:
- GFH’s mission is to collect, preserve, catalogue, and present to the public every piece of testimony and documentation that will aid in telling the fate of the Jewish People in the 20th century and the crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its supporters. As a consequence of this, GFH is committed to maintaining a historical museum that displays these items of testimony, and an accredited scholarly archive that is accessible to the public. Its task is to foster the research and documentation projects that deepen our understanding of the Holocaust, the causes of it, and its effects and consequences.
- GFH’s mission is to inform future generations about the rich Jewish world that existed before the Second World War and was totally destroyed during the war years, and to teach respect for the victims of the Holocaust and an understanding of their world and its circumstances.
- GFH’s mission is to tell the uplifting story of Jewish youth prior to the Holocaust, the range of political organizations and youth movements operating in Jewish communities on the eve of the Holocaust, which became the cradle of the Jewish resistance that would arise during the Holocaust.
- It is GFH’s mission to provide an historical account of Jewish resistance in all its forms and expressions: the attempt to carry on a meaningful existence under unbearable circumstances; the expressions of spiritual life, culture, and religion in a time of destruction; the maintenance of community life and activities of mutual assistance, clandestine schools, outlawed political organizations, underground documentary archives, rescue attempts, and finally, acts of armed resistance in the ghettos, camps, and partisan units. It is these stories that aid us in keeping faith with the future of humanity and that of the Jewish People.
- It is GFH’s obligation to pass along the heritage of the outstanding educators of the Holocaust-era, represented by the figures of Itzhak Katzenelson and Janusz Korczak, who stood at the vanguard of the struggle to maintain the qualities of humanity in those years of torment
- GFH’s mission is to testify to the tragedy and perpetuate the memory of one and one-half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, and to make of their sacrificed childhoods an educational lesson for this and future generations.
- It is GFH’s mission to teach about the Holocaust to wide audiences in Israel and across the globe, and to engage with them in a multicultural dialogue on the meaning of the Holocaust and the significance of its lessons for our times.
- GFH’s obligation has been, from its inception, to introduce the commemoration of the Holocaust into the yearly calendar, in Israel and abroad, and to construct the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day as an event of national unification and commemoration.
- GFH’s mission is to work together with institutions of research and commemoration in Israel and abroad, in order to increase the awareness of the universal significance of the Holocaust, and in order to fight together against hatred, instances of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, and denial of the Holocaust, and to intensify the commitment to the values of liberty, human dignity, tolerance, and democracy.
- The Ghetto Fighters’ House is an integral part of the rich socio-cultural fabric of the State of Israel and the Western Galilee, and is committed to contributing to the welfare of Israeli society and to nurture its humanistic and democratic character.
- The Ghetto Fighters’ House is an integral part of the Jewish People and the Zionist movement, and as such is committed to working towards Jewish continuity and to nurturing a modern, pluralistic Jewish culture.
In order to best fulfill its mission as stated above, the Ghetto Fighters’ House has undertaken to maintain a reputable historical museum and scholarly archives of the highest academic standards, accessible to the public and researchers alike, with a staff of qualified professionals supported by a modern infrastructure and up-to-date tools and equipment.