Seventy-seven years ago, the tragedy that is the Holocaust ended after killing over 6 million Jews. Since then, Holocaust museums and memorials have been built across the world, including one in St. Louis, which opened in 1995.
The newly renovated Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum opened Nov. 2, 2022. Amy Lutz, director of marketing and communication at the museum and a volunteer before the update, said this is the newest museum in the country to open its doors.
“Something that is very unique about this museum is that we focus on the stories, the voices, the faces of St. Louis area survivors, liberators and witnesses. Their stories and their narratives take people through the chronological history of St. Louis,” Lutz said.
On the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust’s end (1995), the St. Louis museum was opened, and on the 75th anniversary, museum officials approved the renovation.
“The former museum was a really incredible, impactful space, but it opened in 1995. It needed some new technology, it needed to grow [and] it needed to reflect newer research. But also, because it’s bigger, it gives us more space to tell more stories and to tell other stories more in-depth,” Lutz said about the renovations.
While the Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum was built telling the stories of survivors, it is open for all who want to educate themselves about the Holocaust.
“[The Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum] includes a special exhibition space, archives, a research room and an impact lab,” Helen Turner, director of education at the museum, said. “I educate not only students, but I also educate adults, seniors, police officers, nurses, teachers and anyone who is interested in this history.”
One aspect of the Holocaust Museum that isn’t open until January is the Impact Lab.
“The Impact Lab is a special experience in addition to the permanent Holocaust exhibition where visitors can go and learn about contemporary events and hate crimes and genocides through the lens of the Holocaust,” Lutz said. “This is a place for anyone of most ages to learn this important history. We do recommend this for 10 and up. . . this is an important museum because learning does not stop when you leave school.”
The museum’s artifacts include escape maps, cameras, shoes, weapons and more.
The Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum is located at 36 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Cour in West St. Louis County.