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Holocaust Virtual Tours

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by Rhoda Venture

I was visiting with my neighbor yesterday (a street between us, of course). She’s a German immigrant who made her home in our small-town following WWII. We chatted about the state of the world and whined about finding toilet paper. She then shrugged her shoulders and said “it could be worse. We could be doing this in the cold, with no food and without our loved ones with us. Believe me, I know.” Huh. Tough to argue with that.

Our conversation really made me reflect on another moment in history when the world was launched into chaos. That chaos was not caused by a virus, but rather by a madness that went viral. While we remember the horror, we also remember the powerful stories of survival and human resilience.

As we embrace our new normal, the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center in St. Louis continues to share its important work. It’s offering a series of virtual tour videos and discussion questions on its YouTube channel. There’s a 48-minute tour of the full exhibit and 12 five-minute videos. Descriptions of each video are included along with the questions.

Virtual Videos and Discussion Questions

These videos are a virtual journey through the Holocaust years. They offer glimpses of Jewish life before the rise of Nazism, the escalation of hatred, the horrors of WWII and the stories of human perseverance that followed. Teachers, parents or anyone interested in learning about the Holocaust are welcome to these free online educational assets.

Survivor Testimonies

In addition to these tremendous resources, you can listen to Survivor testimonies and other recorded Holocaust Museum and Learning Center programs. They are incredibly moving, first-hand accounts passed to us by those who lived through the Holocaust.

Listen to one young woman’s experience in a small German town as she went from an idyllic childhood to one of fear, hiding, and eventual escape. Watch as another shares her survival story of daily life at Auschwitz. Interestingly, amidst the horror of death and torture, she explains that a rich cultural and intellectual life existed. Artists, writers and the well-educated incarcerated used their gifts and talents for the benefit of the whole population.

Watch Recorded Survivor Testimonies

Right now, the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in St. Louis is closed. However, that doesn’t mean it has stopped sharing messages of history and hope. As you shelter in place with your loved ones, take time to listen to the stories and remember that all is not lost. You may find that you are uplifted, inspired, and grateful for this time. A little perspective is a good thing -I certainly won’t be griping over toilet paper anymore!

Additional Resources

If you have students or family who want to learn more about the Holocaust, there are excellent resources available.

The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. is hosting online learning during the COVID-19 shutdown. Explore the Holocaust Encyclopedia, Experiencing History and History Unfolded.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City has free Holocaust curriculum available on its website.

The Holocaust Museum Houston is also offering outstanding digital content free to the public at this time.


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