CREVE COEUR, Mo. — In Creve Coeur, a somber history has found its sanctuary at the newly renovated St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum.
This remarkable institution stands as a testament to a time that should never be forgotten, where every tour begins with a gravity point—a profound reminder of the Holocaust's depth and magnitude.
Helen Turner, the director of education, emphasizes the importance of understanding the events that await visitors as they step inside. She believes that museums are spaces for questions, inquiry and education, and that is precisely what the museum aims to achieve.
While the Holocaust remains a horrifying chapter in history, it is also a deeply personal story. Archivist Diane Everman received numerous artifacts from the families of survivors during the pandemic, each item carrying a weighty tale. Among them is Evalina, a doll given to a local survivor in Berlin just before the young girl down the street was deported to Auschwitz and tragically murdered.
In the museum, a small shoe serves as an indelible reminder of the youngest victims. Helen Turner, overwhelmed by its significance, describes it as a child's shoe from one of the killing centers—a tiny artifact that fits in the palm of your hand but speaks volumes about the magnitude of the tragedy.
The museum pays tribute to the individuals behind the names, showcasing a projection of the hundreds of survivors who found solace in St. Louis post-Holocaust. As the museum's collection grew, so did the knowledge of these survivors' stories, with over 900 names now known and honored within its walls.
Walking through the hallowed halls of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum forces visitors to confront the nature of hate and injustice, and the consequences of silence. It serves as a stark reminder that it is our collective responsibility to remember the past and learn from it. Helen Turner emphasizes that the museum's purpose goes beyond a history lesson; it aims to provoke self-reflection about human behavior and inspire positive change.
When asked what gives her hope, Turner said, "Every day when I see people in this building." It is the dedication of individuals who enter the museum, eager to engage with history and confront the darkness of the past, that instills hope for a better future.
The newly renovated St. Louis Holocaust Museum stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It urges us to remember, to learn and to strive for a world where such atrocities are never repeated. It is a powerful reminder that we can and must do better.