hmh turns 25

Houston's cherished Holocaust Museum marks 25th anniversary with powerful, free event

Holocaust Museum Houston marks 25th anniversary with free event

Holocaust Museum Houston hall
Photo courtesy of G. Lyons Photography/HMH

As recent events have illustrated, America sorely needs reminders of unity and tolerance. Just in time, a local and beloved institution is celebrating a major milestone with an important message for the current and future generations.

Holocaust Museum Houston celebrates its 25th anniversary on Wednesday, March 3. To toast the occasion, admission will be free and cookies and handouts will be offered to every guest.

Patrons will receive a 25 percent discount on all HMH branded gifts in the museum’s store; while the first 25 visitors will earn a free one-year director-level membership good for two people.

Meanwhile, Holocaust survivor Ruth Steinfeld will be on hand from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm to discuss her harrowing experience as a child survivor. Some backstory, courtesy of HMH: In 1940, Ruth and her sister Lea (ages seven and eight, respectively), were deported with their parents to the internment camp of Gurs in the French Pyrenees.

Their parents made the wrenching decision to entrust their girls to a Jewish philanthropic organization called the Oeuvres de Secours aux Enfants (OSE), which promised to shelter them.

Lea and Ruth were never to see their parents again.

The sisters lived first in a group home and later with a kind foster family in a small farming community. Posing as Catholics, Lea and Ruth were safe only until the villagers began to suspect their true identities.

The OSE moved them to another orphanage, where they remained until war’s end.

In 1946, the girls’ grandfather, Jakob Kapustin, brought them to the United States. He died only six months later; Ruth and Lea moved in with an “unkind” aunt and uncle. When a Jewish relief organization offered the sisters the opportunity to move to another city and complete their schooling, the sisters chose Houston because they “knew there were cowboys in Texas.”

Also on anniversary day, visitors will experience Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory. The epic new exhibition showcases more than 60 personal artifacts brought to America by Survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides around the world, including Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Syria.

Face masks are required for all visitors ages 10 and over. For more information, visit hmh.org.