More with the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus

More with the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus
January 30, 2019 Sarah Zientarski

Detroit Performs caught up with the events and marketing director at the Holocaust Memorial Center, Sarah Saltzman, to learn more about what the center has to offer.

Detroit Performs: How can people take a guided tour of the Holocaust Memorial Center?

Sarah Saltzman: We offer public tours Sunday through Friday at 1:30 pm.  Typically we can accommodate up to 60 guests. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more people. Student and adult group tours are available upon request. Please call 248-553-2400 ext. 144 in advance to make arrangements. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to scheduled tour times.

DP: Who gives the guided tours and what do they entail?

SS: Trained Holocaust Memorial Center docents lead 90 minute in-depth tours of the museum’s core exhibits on Sundays through Thursdays. On Fridays, docent-led tours are 60 minute. Occasionally docent-led special exhibit tours are offered on Sundays and Mondays. These sell out quickly. Please look on our Web site or sign up for museum Eblasts to get more information. Tours are included with the cost of admission.

DP: When do you have Holocaust survivors speak and who can attend?

SS: Unfortunately, we can no longer guarantee daily Holocaust Survivor Speaker presentations. When available, Survivor Speaker presentations last between 45 minutes and one hour and are usually scheduled at 12:15 pm before the public tour.

DP: Who are some of the survivors you have speak?

SS: Our speakers are local Detroit area Holocaust Survivors and 2 Gs (Second Generation Survivors) who share the stories of their lives or of their loved ones who no longer are able to do so themselves.

DP: What is the experience like for people who are attending a Holocaust survivor speaker presentation?

SS: These are often emotional presentations and for many of our visitors life changing experiences.

The Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg Gallery’s centerpiece is an actual boxcar set in historically accurate architecture of the Hannoverscher Bahnhof station platform in Hamburg, Germany.

DP: What upcoming events do you have in 2019?

SS: Some upcoming events include: Jewish Life in the Ukraine Yesterday and Today (with Asher Ostrin, American Jewish Distribution Committee’s Senior Executive for International Affairs) on February 10 at 7 pm, Preventing Genocide: Rohingya Update (a discussion with Adem Carroll, Burma Task Force and Prof. John Ciorciari, U of MI Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy) on March 7 at 7 pm, A Discussion about Hatred and White Nationalism with Derek Black (for HMC members only) on April 7, and The Never-ending Shocks of Women’s Holocaust Experiences (a talk by Professor Emerita Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University) on June 12 at 11:15 am.

DP: Why is the Holocaust Memorial Center so important in today’s society?

SS: Everyone, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, should be concerned by the rise of prejudice and antisemitism today. The horror of the Holocaust shows the devastating consequences of what can happen when hatred of others goes unchecked. Attitudes can lead to unspeakable actions. It is vitally important that people understand that words do matter and speak out against all forms of prejudice.

In Jewish practice, a twenty-four hour candle is lit on the anniversary of the death of a parent or child. An eternal flame burns at the Holocaust Memorial Center signifying the unknown anniversary date for those loved ones lost in the Holocaust.

DP: What are the hours of the Holocaust Memorial Center?

SS: Monday 9:30 am – 8:30 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Friday 9:30 am- 3:00 pm, Saturday Closed. Last admission is one hour prior to close. Holiday hours may vary. Please check our Web site at

DP: What else must people know about the Holocaust Memorial Center?

SS: A visit to the HMC is appropriate for students in the 7th grade and above. Please join our mailing list or Eblast list by calling 248-536-9612. Our mission is to engage, educate and empower people of all backgrounds about the senseless murder of millions during the Holocaust and why each of us must respect and stand up for the rights of others.

Watch Detroit Performs Host, DJ Oliver’s, interview with CEO of Holocaust Memorial Center, Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, here: