The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was established by an act of Congress that mandated the creation of a “permanent living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.” It is the items that belonged to those victims and survivors—as well as other materials that relate their stories, experiences, and histories—that form the basis of the Museum’s collections.
The Museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Documentation houses an unparalleled repository of Holocaust evidence that documents the fate of victims, survivors, rescuers, liberators, and others. Our comprehensive collection contains millions of documents, artifacts, photos, films, books, and testimonies.
Materials have been donated by individuals who directly experienced the Holocaust or by their families, or have been acquired from domestic and international institutions. Museum staff collect, preserve, and make available to the public this collection of record of the Holocaust and support the Museum’s wide-ranging efforts in the areas of research, exhibition, publication, education, and commemoration.