Few events of the 20th century have been the object of as much continuing popular interest as the Holocaust. When the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors in April 1993, museum officials estimated that one million people would visit the museum during its first year. In reality, approximately two million people visited the museum during that period, two-thirds of whom were non-Jews. As of 1 June 2000, a total of 14.2 million people had visited the museum. It is difficult to account for this interest simply in terms of the number of Holocaust victims or the fact that the Shoah was perpetrated by the government of one of the best educated and technologically proficient nations in the world, although that fact cannot be discounted. There have been many other large-scale, demographic catastrophes perpetrated by human beings in the 20th century. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that a museum devoted to Stalin’s murders, the Armenian genocide of 1915 or the massacres in former Yugoslavia or Rwanda would consistently draw so large a number of visitors as Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.
KeywordsJewish History Jewish Question Popular Interest Jewish Refugee Armenian Genocide
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