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Holocaust Museum in St. Louis County reopens after years-long renovation project

The museum is now 36,000 square feet, four times larger than it was before.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum reopened this week after a $21 million renovation that took two years to complete.

The museum is now 36,000 square feet, four times larger than it was before.

"The stories of St. Louis survivors really guide the visitor through the process," Amy Lutz of the Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum said. "We use the most up-to-date technology, up-to-date research to make that happen."

Lutz said the Holocaust is a difficult history. Visitors will hear first-hand stories, see artifacts and read exhibits about the trials and tribulations Jewish families endured. Roughly 800 survivors settled in St. Louis after World War II. One of those immigrants was Vera Emmons’s mother. Her book is featured in the museum lobby.

"There's not enough survivors to speak about their experiences,” Emmons said. “To audiences I took on the responsibility of talking about my family’s experience, to personalize the history that people learn when they come to the museum. It's important to me, my family, to know that my family’s legacy is being passed on.”

The Anti-Defamation League said attacks on Jews have increased in recent years. In 2021, The Anti-Defamation League reported 2,717 antisemitic incidents including 88 assaults and 11 with deadly weapons. Those were the highest numbers on record since the ADL first started tracking statistics in 1979.

Emmons and Lutz both said this fact is disheartening. The reopening of the museum will help the Jewish Community and allies fight against hate speech.

“Antisemitism didn't begin with the holocaust,” Lutz said. “It didn't end with the Holocaust. We are going to give people the tools to fight back against it.”

Lutz encourages people to go online and reserve their tickets.

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