Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus
The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus (HMC) opened in 1984 on the campus of the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan (in the Metropolitan Detroit Area). We were founded by local Holocaust survivors with community support, to teach about the senseless murder of millions, and why each of us must respect and stand up for the rights of others if we are to prevent future discrimination, hate crime and genocide. Since the HMC opened, local survivors have been the cornerstone of our institution, enabling us to foster a personal connection to the Holocaust for our visitors through their daily talks to tour groups. In 2004, we moved to an iconic 55.000 square foot facility, designed by architects Neumann Smith & Associates to incorporate Holocaust symbolism.
Our mission is to engage, educate and empower by remembering the Holocaust. Visitors to the HMC reflect the diversity of the region, coming from a range of ethnic, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds, and age groups. While most visitors are students and educators, the HMC engages all visitors in compelling content and builds lasting connections to the Holocaust and its stories. Our permanent exhibit galleries vividly document the tragedy that occurred, creating a call to action, teaching visitors through the examples of those who risked their lives to save others. It is through these meaningful connections that the HMC assures the next generation is equipped with the knowledge, empathy, and critical thinking required to challenge hatred and intolerance in contemporary society.
Our facility includes a special exhibition gallery where we host several exhibitions per year; one of the country's largest libraries specializing in the Holocaust and European Jewish history; an Oral History Department containing a repository of over 700 testimonies of Holocaust survivors, liberators, eyewitnesses, and rescuers; and the Wanda and Harry Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous. We host numerous public programs (films, lectures, symposia, conferences, music performances, art projects etc.) over the course of the year, often in partnership with other community institutions.
In a normal year, the Holocaust Memorial Center educates more than 65.000 people through our programming and tours. Due to COVID in 2020, however, our walk-in visitors were reduced. Prior to the pandemic, visitors from 134 middle school, high school, college and community organizations were educated through guided tours followed by presentations from Holocaust survivors. Eight of these schools visited from outside of Michigan. Other visitors toured the HMC with their families or attended in-person or virtual programming we presented. With the pivot to virtual programming, we reached 15,000 viewers from around the world, far exceeding numbers we would reach through in-person programming. Our in-person and virtual visitors came from throughout Michigan (primarily the southeastern region) as well as from Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and globally, from Europe and the Middle East.
In March 2018, the HMC embarked on an initiative to provide Holocaust education training to Michigan’s social studies teachers in response to the 2016 state mandate requiring six hours of Holocaust and genocide education for Michigan’s 8th through 12th grade public school students. This program has now grown to include English Language Arts and Art teachers as well, and we have trained 1.432 teachers as of February 2021.
Special thank you to Isaac Vineburg!