The story of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and of its founders is a historical, cultural, and social phenomenon unique among Holocaust museums in Israel and throughout the world. The unique nature of the place lies in its primacy, in its being a project that was thought of and put up by a group of young people who had fought against the Nazis and survived the horrors of the Holocaust. When laying the foundation for their kibbutz home, they also laid the foundation for commemoration and remembrance as an educational asset and mission.
In the architect’s words:
“It was the vow of the members of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot to build a house, not a museum or a monument, that would be dedicated to preserving the history as a continuum between past and present, to heal the rift between the pioneering that faces forward and the memory that looks back – and above all, to emphasize the vital connection between the personal story and that of the group. This obliges us, in considering the physical and programmatic interference in the building, to uphold two fundamental principles as best we can. The Ghetto Fighters’ House is an integral part of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot. This connection is the essence of GFH. [Today,] this quality is fairly intangible to many of the museum’s visitors, who experience the place as an isolated commemoration site in a pastoral setting. The Ghetto Fighters’ House is a dynamic source of authentic testimonies and personal viewpoints. It differs from other museums and archives that deal with the Holocaust, as well as from the monument-centered commemoration sites, in that it is not based mainly on gathering detailed information and depicting a comprehensive overview, nor is it based, on the other hand, upon a ritualistic intensification of momentary revelation and mourning, but rather on an encounter – personal, subjective, intimate, emotional, and as much as possible, unmediated – between the deliverers of the testimony and the listener/viewer. “These two principles guide the components of the amendment plan. The entire interior and exterior planning and design process was assessed according to how it contributed to the clarification of the connection between the kibbutz, its founders, and the museum, and according to its ability to foster display and viewing that permit closeness, internalizing, and identification…”