Our new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries are now open at IWM London.
These galleries bring unseen objects, untold stories and unheard voices together.
Find out more about the new galleries and plan your visit.
During busy periods, we cannot guarantee access to the new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries, even if you have pre booked a general admission ticket. You may have to collect a timed ticket from the info desk on level 0 to enter the new galleries.
Look out for
Gena Turgel’s Wedding Dress
Gena Turgel was liberated from Belsen Concentration Camp on 15 April 1945. On the second day following her liberation she met Sergeant Norman Turgel who was serving with 53 FS Section, Intelligence Corps attached to 8th Corps.
They were married on 7 October 1945 at Lubeck. Her wedding dress is being displayed in The Holocaust Galleries for the first time.
© IWM A photograph of Wohl family outside of family business
The Wohl Family Collection
On 14 December 1938 Leonhard and Clara Wohl, Jewish couple originally from Northern Germany, sent their two younger daughters, Eva and Ulli, to Britain on a Kindertransport.
Among several objects on display in the Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries are Eva Wohl's last exchange of Red Cross telegrams with her father. Leonard and Clara sadly did not move across to Britain to be with their daughters and were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz in 1943.
The destruction of the USS Arizona accounted for almost half the lives lost during the entire attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a tragic attack which proved a critical turning point in the global conflict, resulting in the US declaring war against Japan.
The story is brought to life in the Second World War Galleries by displaying a piece of wreckage from the ship, the first time a piece of the USS Arizona has ever left the United States.
The 122mm Field Howitzer Model 1938 M30
This was was one of the most successful Russian artillery pieces of the Second World War. This object helps tell the story of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union and emphasises the industrial miracle that enabled the Soviet Union to drive out the invaders. Defeats in 1941 had deprived the Soviet Union of 40% of its coal and steel and 32% of its industrial workforce.
Despite this it was out-producing Germany in weapons manufacturing by 1943. During the war it manufactured 127,000 artillery pieces, compared to Germany’s 27,000.
Behind the Scenes
More from IWM
Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme
IWM’s Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme (SWWHPP) was established to collaborate with cultural partners across the UK and engage new audiences in projects which explore local Second World War and Holocaust collections and themes within the national context.
SWWHPP is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Holocaust Learning Programme
To support students visiting IWM’s new galleries to learn about the Holocaust, IWM has developed a new Holocaust learning programme.
Created by IWM experts, leading creative agency Friday Sundae Studio and award-winning writer Stef Smith, the programme uses ambitious digital technology, IWM collections and storytelling to encourage reflection, discussion and understanding of the Holocaust, creating a sensitive narrative that will support students learning about this difficult history.
This programme is available for students aged 13+ (KS3 and above) who will be studying the Holocaust as part of the National Curriculum.
New publications: Total War: A People’s History of the Second World War and The Holocaust
To support visitors wanting to delve deeper into the content and themes of IWM’s new galleries, and to further develop their understanding of the Second World War and the Holocaust, IWM is releasing two new publications in October 2021.
Total War: A People’s History of the Second World War by IWM curators Kate Clements, Paul Cornish and Vikki Hawkins is an innovative illustrated history of the Second World War, told with the help of personal stories from across the globe. Total War is published by Thames & Hudson in partnership with IWM.
The Holocaust by IWM historian James Bulgin features a wealth of archival material including emotive objects and unique personal testimonies, examining how the course of the Second World War as well as ideology and individual decision making were all critical factors in the execution of The Holocaust. Author James Bulgin has led the curation of IWM’s new The Holocaust Galleries,
Background to the new galleries
As the UK’s leading authority on the public understanding of war and conflict, and custodian of the national collection for the Holocaust, IWM has used its world-renowned insight and expertise to create new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries at IWM London.
Three times the size of IWM’s award-winning First World War Galleries and spanning two floors at IWM London, this major project sees IWM London become the first museum in the world to house dedicated Second World War and Holocaust Galleries under the same roof, examining the complex relationship between the Holocaust and the course and consequences of the Second World War
Second World War Galleries
The Second World War Galleries are formed of six individual spaces which tell the story of the conflict chronologically, exploring its global scale and impact upon people and communities.
The new galleries reveal how whole societies were drawn into the war through mobilisation, direct attack and occupation. The galleries begin by exploring how during the 1930s the signs that war was coming grew ever more apparent. They then continue into Britain and its empire’s early experience of the war, before showing how the Second World War became a truly global conflict in 1941. The galleries highlight what led to the Allied victory in 1945 and explore the aftermath of what was the most devastating war in human history.
The V-1 flying bomb
A 783kg V-1 flying bomb is suspended between the two new galleries, presenting a striking symbol of how the Holocaust and the Second World War are interconnected.
Over 10,000 of these ‘Doodlebugs’ were launched at London and other British cities, killing over 6,000 people. Widely remembered as part of Britain’s war, the V-1 is also an important part of the Holocaust story. Many thousands of concentration camp prisoners, labouring in the most appalling conditions, died making these weapons in Nazi Germany.
The Holocaust Galleries
Personal stories are at the heart of the new The Holocaust Galleries, along with a breadth of objects and original material that help audiences consider the cause, course and consequences of this terrible period in world history. Individual stories from some of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust are told through over 2000 photos, books, artworks and letters, and personal objects ranging from jewellery and clothing to toys and musical instruments
The new galleries explore three core themes of persecution, looking at the global situation at the end of the First World War; escalation, identifying how violence towards Jewish people and communities developed through the 1930s; and annihilation, examining how Nazi policy crosses the threshold into wide-scale state-sponsored murder in the heart of twentieth century Europe.
By robustly interrogating the identity of the perpetrators, the galleries explain who was responsible for these crimes, what motivated them and how ordinary they often were in every other way.