In Memoriam by Willem Volkersz

National Holocaust Museum i.o.

The Dutch-American artist Willem Volkersz (1939) created the artwork In Memoriam to commemorate the pupils and former pupils of the 1st Montessori School in Amsterdam who were murdered in concentration camps or otherwise lost their lives during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands (1940-1945). The piece is comprised of 172 wooden suitcases. On each of the suitcases the artist painted the name and age of one of the children and the place and date of their death. The installation is ‘accompanied’ by a neon sculpture depicting a boy carrying a suitcase.

The idea for In Memoriam, originated from a research project carried out by Ronald Sanders, a teacher at the 1st Montessori School (now De Wielewaal), about the impact of the Second World War on the school, the building, its teachers and students. Sanders discovered that 172 (former) pupils had died during the Second World War. Willem Volkersz, once a student at this school as well, was extremely moved when he heard these facts for the first time. And it inspired him to make this impressive work of art.

The installation In Memoriam, co-designed by students, is on display in the basement of the museum.


In Memoriam at Montana State University in 2009 - Photo: Willem Volkersz

Education at the National Holocaust Museum (under development)

Artist Willem Volkersz donated his work In Memoriam to the National Holocaust Museum (NHM). The suitcases are used by the Educational Department for teaching and special events, as part of a programme entitled ‘Art and Commemoration’. The online Jewish Monument also plays an important role here. On the monument’s website, a student (and/or teacher) searches for names, faces and the stories of others who perished during the war. Then a new installation is made in the museum with the suitcases and stories that are found.

The educational programme is meant for pupils aged 10 to 14. Click here for more information.


This installation can be seen in the National Holocaust Museum


You can visit all the exhibitions on display in the Jewish Cultural Quarter’s venues with your admission ticket. You also have free access to events (unless otherwise specified) at these locations. Dutch Museum Card holders do not need to purchase a ticket.

Please note: the basement level of the National Holocaust Museum is not accessible to wheelchairs.



The vfonds, with its donation of € 1,000,000, is the main benefactor of the National Holocaust Museum’s initial development phase.

Deze site is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands