Museum article by Victor Romero
Fishing Boat article by Lindsey Brann
The extermination of six million Jews during World War II was a horrific event that will be remembered forever. In the city of Houston stands a distinguished building that has engraved within its walls the memories and stories of some of the survivors. The Holocaust Museum Houston’s mission is to remember those who perished in the Holocaust; to educate people about the dangers of hatred, prejudice, violence, and apathy; and to instill hope by working to repair the world.
Siegi Izakson conceived the idea for the Houston museum. In 1981, he traveled to Israel to participate in an international gathering of Holocaust survivors where he met hundreds of people like him who had survived. He realized that eventually he and the rest of the survivors would be gone from this world and with them the memories of their experiences. Even though other cities had erected memorials, Siegi returned to Houston with the mission of building a Holocaust education center and memorial here to keep the memories alive.
Siegi presented his idea to the leadership of Houston’s Jewish Federation, but the museum was sidelined until 1990 when Sandra Weiner, president of Houston’s Jewish Federation, embraced the idea. In 1992, the Holocaust Education Center (HEC) organized the Circle of Tolerance, a blue ribbon fundraising committee with Ben Love, Stanford Alexander, and Harry Reasoner as its chairs. These prominent Houston business leaders raised the money to organize the construction and fund the exhibits without any government funding. Prior to opening, the name changed to the Holocaust Museum Houston. In March 1996, when the Holocaust Museum had its opening ceremony, Siegi saw his vision become a reality. Speaking to those in attendance, he said, “This means the Holocaust story will not go away. It means the Holocaust is going to be told through education and memorial.”
Author Victor Romero interviewed Ira Perry, director of Marketing and Public Relations at Holocaust Museum Houston. Listen to parts of this interview below.
Ira Perry on how the museum came to be:
Ira Perry on how the museum was funded, and the story behind its unique architecture:
Ira Perry on the museums exhibits and methods of telling the story of the Holocaust:
Ira Perry on why the Holocaust Museum is still relevant today:
Author Lindsey Brann interviewed Walter Hansen, the project leader for restoring the Danish fishing boat at the Holocaust Museum Houston. Listen to parts of this interview below.
Walter Hansen on help he had from other boat owners and the stories of their boats:
Walter Hansen on the message and power of the boat’s stories:
Holocaust survivor and Houston resident Linda Penn describes her experiences during the Holocaust:
Click here to read “Shatter Lives, New Beginnings: Holocaust Survivors in Houston,” from our “Coming to Houston” issue. This articles discusses the adjustment to a new life for many Jewish people who came to Houston following World War II and how their fellow Houstonians helped to ease that transition.
Click here to read “Shepherds of Israel” by Rabbi Jimmy Kessler from our “Call to Worship” issue about the contributions of Galveston Rabbi Henry Cohen and Houston Rabbis Robert Kahn and Hyman Schachtel.