The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio opened its doors to the public at its current location in May, 2000. However, Holocaust education has been an ongoing priority of the San Antonio Jewish community for forty-two years. In 1975, in response to a request from one of the community’s school districts, the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation created a special, short curriculum to supplement World War II studies in high schools. At that time history textbooks virtually ignored the Holocaust.
A program was developed called the Holocaust History Project. The program consisted of a specially created documentary film, a discussion period with a trained facilitator, a classroom visit with a Holocaust survivor and a teacher’s manual. It was offered to schools free of charge. The response was overwhelming.
Recognizing the important social and civic lessons to be learned, teachers seized the opportunity to expose their students to Holocaust history in order to expand their knowledge, increase their sensitivity to others and develop critical thinking skills.
Today thousands of students annually visit the museum where they are provided with a docent led tour explaining the history of this time period, view a movie or participate in a meaningful activity and hear a Holocaust survivor’s testimony.