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History of Holocaust Museum Houston

In 1981, Siegi Izakson, a Holocaust survivor and long-time Houston resident, had an epiphany. After attending an international gathering of Holocaust survivors in Israel, Izakson realized his peers were getting older, and as they passed away their stories and memories of unchecked prejudice would go with them. He returned to Houston, convinced that the city needed a Holocaust education center and memorial that would preserve for future generations the memory of those who had perished and the stories of those who had survived.

Shortly after his return from Israel, Izakson organized the Houston Council of Jewish Holocaust Survivors to help him implement his vision. He organized a speakers bureau of local Holocaust survivors to go out into the community and address students in their classrooms. Although the Houston Jewish Federation leadership did not initially commit to his dream, Izakson would keep working hard to further the concept.

Then, in 1990, Sandra Weiner, the president of Houston’s Jewish Federation, embraced Izakson’s idea. She used her considerable influence to invigorate the project and established the Holocaust Education Center and Memorial Museum with Martin Fein, the son of survivors, as its founding board chair and Lidya Osadchey as the center’s first director.

Just a few months later, the center was operating in an official capacity out of the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. With many questions now being raised about how to best implement the ideals of Izakson’s vision, and make it applicable to modern audiences, the center leadership and members of the survivor community adopted this mission statement:

“To promote awareness of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of millions of Jews and other innocent victims. By fostering Holocaust remembrance, understanding and education, the Museum will educate students as well as the general population about the uniqueness of the event and its ongoing lesson: that humankind must learn to live together in peace and harmony.”

The center’s leadership was determined to build the new museum in the center of the Museum District, and a site and building were purchased on Caroline Street. In September 1992, the center leaders organized the “Circle of Tolerance,” a broad-based, blue-ribbon fundraising committee, with Ben Love, Stanford Alexander and Harry Reasoner as its chairs. A year later, in October 1993, the center broke ground for its new Museum.

Just before the grand opening of the new multi-million-dollar facility, the Holocaust Education Center was re-named Holocaust Museum Houston. And on March 3, 1996, just 13 years after Izakson first dreamed of the idea, Holocaust Museum Houston was officially opened for admission with Izakson proclaiming, “This means the Holocaust story will not go away.”

If You Believe
If you believe…
That a systematic destruction of a people should never happen…

If you believe…
That too many of our children are immersed in a culture of violence and intolerance…

If you believe…
That education is unique in its ability to transform ignorance into respect for those who are different…

If you believe…
That prejudice and hatred can be overcome…

If you believe…then act!
Become a member of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Hours and Admission
Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Museum Admission:

$12 for adults
$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
Free admission on Sundays

Address and Directions
Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

Docent-led tours can be scheduled for schools and groups of 10 or more. Tours are available in Spanish, English and French. To arrange a docent-led tour, please call Visitor Services at 713-942-8000, ext. 302 or submit the form below.

Guided tours are available for all visitors on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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Holocaust Museum Houston Morgan Family Center, 9220 Kirby Drive, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77054, Tel: 713-942-8000, E-mail: info@hmh.org Powered by Nodus Solutions
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