Letter: Holocaust Museum and Learning Center: A Treasured Resource

Docent Irl Solomon leads students on a tour of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Photo: Eric Berger

As a retired educator and member of the education advisory committee for the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center,  I want to thank the Jewish Light for “Keeping Memory Alive,” the inspiring front page April 18 article on the importance of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center for the St. Louis area, as well as small towns in Misouri and Illinois. 

While surveys show a lack of knowledge and misinformation about the Holocaust, the good news is that more than 90 percent support education about the Holocaust. 

Plans to market the HMLC more effectively will bring more students and adults to HMLC to learn how xenophobia, racial and religious stereotyping, along   step by step erosion of democracy in Germany and Europe, resulted in the Holocaust and World War 11.  

The HMLC provides a superb form of history and civic education and the knowledge necessary for citizens to vigorously oppose the assaults on democratic institutions in the United States and elsewhere. History teaches how the courts, press, schools, law enforcement agencies, culture, etc., can be destroyed and/or corrupted with tragic results. 

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

 The most important lesson is the indifference of people and countries who knew  better and allowed insulated and narrow definitions of national and self interest to rationalize their indifference to bigotry,  the destruction of democratic institutions, individual rights and the ultimate murder of millions of people.

 As Peter Hayes says in his excellent book, “Why? Explaining the Holocaust,”: “everyone knows or should know that freedom is invisible; when taken away from someone, it can be taken away from anyone.” 

Dennis Lubeck, Ph.D, History Education Consultant, Education Plus, Brentwood