Holocaust | St. Louis Public Radio


Dr. Raul Artal Mittelmark stands in his St. Louis University office before retiring in 2014.
St. Louis University

On April 22, 1943, Dr. Raul Artal-Mittelmark was born in a Nazi concentration camp in Transnistria, a region in Eastern Europe. 

“It was a very difficult breech delivery; I came into the world with my feet first,” Artal-Mittelmark said Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. “Luckily, there was a physician in the camp … who knew what to do. He saved my mother’s and my life.”

February 27, 2020 Gail Wechsler Dan Reich
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

What happened to Jewish lawyers after Hitler took power in Germany? The truth is a painful one. They were stripped of their licenses and driven from their homeland even as, in many cases, their gentile colleagues stood silent.

Those horrifying details are at the center of an exhibit that has now been shown all over the world — and makes its St. Louis debut next month. “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich” was first developed in Germany by its bar association. The American Bar Association worked with the German Federal Bar to bring an English version to the U.S.    

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center will soon undergo an $18 million expansion to add exhibit space. Work on the expansion, designed by the international design firm Gallagher and Associates, will begin in May. January 27, 2020
St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center announced Monday that it will build an $18 million expansion to house more exhibits. 

When finished in 2021, the museum will triple in size to 35,000 square feet and have more room for permanent and temporary attractions. The project also will add a second level to the museum and two classrooms.

Passengers aboard the MS St. Louis in 1939. The ship of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany was blocked from landing in Cuba, Canada and the U.S. and ultimately returned to Europe.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Updated at 5 p.m., June 5 with information about a new location for the event The lecture and vigil will now be held at the Missouri History Museum to avoid traffic issues during the St. Louis Blues game.

Eighty years ago, the U.S. turned away a ship of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany — forcing them to return to Europe.

Of the 937 passengers on the MS St. Louis, about a quarter were later killed in the Holocaust.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis is spearheading an event to commemorate the voyage of the MS St. Louis, which also coincides with the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Nazi guards force Jewish prisoners on a death march during World War II. The fifth man from the right is Leo Wolfe, who survived the Holocaust and co-founded the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center with Tom Green and Bill Kahn.  4/15/19
Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

Paula Bromberg was a Polish Jew whose family was seized by the Nazis, forced to live in the Lodz ghetto and later sent to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was sent from there to another camp, where she was exploited as slave labor. On May 6, 1945, her camp was liberated by the U.S. army near the end of World War II. She was the only one in her family who survived to see freedom.

Bromberg met her future husband, Harry, in a displaced persons camp after the war. They and their young child resettled in St. Louis.

Decades later, she told her story to Vida "Sister" Goldman Prince, with a tape recorder rolling. Bromberg died in 2013.

After years in storage, the interview on that tape — and those of 143 other Holocaust survivors with ties to the area — is now online.

A docent leads students on a tour through the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center. 4/5/19
Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

For years, the cassette tapes gathered dust. The original master recordings were squirreled away in storage, with lesser-sounding copies made available to scholars upon request.

Now, a collection of 144 interviews with Holocaust survivors is available for easy access on the website of St. Louis’s Holocaust Museum & Learning Center.

Local journalist Dick Weiss (at left) partnered with Mendel Rosenberg on his newly published memoir titled "Thriver: My Journey Through Holocaust Nightmare to American Dream."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For a long time, Mendel Rosenberg didn’t talk about what he experienced during World War II.

“[During] the many years that I didn’t talk about it, I used to have nightmares – the same nightmare constantly,” he said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “The Germans are shooting at me, and I’m running away.”

Rosenberg was about 13 years old when his father and brother were killed in Lithuania. Rosenberg himself was put into a ghetto – and later taken to a concentration camp. Decades later, he now is talking about what happened to him and his family. The nonagenarian’s new memoir, “Thriver: My Journey Through Holocaust Nightmare to American Dream,” gives his firsthand account of the Holocaust.

(January 28, 2019) Rachel Miller (left) and Dan Reich (right) discussed how the younger generations will continue to tell the stories of those who experienced the Holocaust on "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sunday marked the international community’s commemoration of lives lost and tragedy caused during the Holocaust. Although it took place more than 70 years ago, its lessons continue to resonate today.

“Those [lessons] are not bound by time,” Dan Reich, curator and director of education at the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center, told host Don Marsh on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Russel Neiss, a St. Louis-based Jewish educator was one of the creators of the viral @Stl_manifest Twitter account, which recounted the lives of Jewish refugees turned away from the U.S. in 1939 aboard the M.S. St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It was Thursday night, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. St. Louis-based Jewish educator and technologist Russel Neiss and his friend across the country, Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, had put their heads together.

Miryam Tauber and Eli Tauber prepare Sephardic eggs in preparation for Miryam's cooking class on Aug. 19, 2016. The eggs are boiled at a low temperature for hours with onion skins.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A Bosnian historian is in St. Louis through Monday to share stories about Jewish and Muslim people living side by side in Sarajevo for centuries.

University City native Rebecca Patz Nathanson invited Eli Tauber to St. Louis to take part in a series of events highlighting positive shared experiences between Muslims and Jews in Bosnia called Sarajevo 450.

She hopes the events shift thinking in the St. Louis Jewish community and beyond, as her experience living in Bosnia shifted her own thinking.

Cantor Howard Shalowitz and Rabbi Yosef Landa lead a burial service for an unknown Holocaust victim on Sunday, April 3, 2016 at Chevra Kadisha Cemetery in St. Louis County.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A victim of the Holocaust has found a final resting place at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis more than 70 years after World War II.

On Sunday members of the St. Louis Jewish community held a burial service for human remains found at Dachau concentration camp in 1945.

Item displayed at “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation” at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center
Julia Bishop-Cross / via Flickr

Two St. Louis exhibits closely examine the powerful role of propaganda during the rise of Nazi Germany.

The first is “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation,” and is at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The other, at the Missouri History Museum, is a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum called, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” 

Conference Draws Attention To Female Artists

Oct 31, 2014
Alice Guy-Blaché
Courtesy of Cinema St. Louis

As women strive to gain equal ground in the workplace, they’re also working to establish the same ground in the arts. The Women in the Arts Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will feature lectures, demonstrations, papers, performances and workshops from 27 speakers on Nov. 6-8.

“Everyone thinks the playing field is level,” said Barbara Harbach, a composer and director of the Women in the Arts Conference. “It’s not quite as level as you might think.”

St. Louis County Library

Just because Ben Fainer was silent for 60 years doesn’t mean he has nothing to say.

Ripped from his home in Poland at age 9 by the Nazis, Fainer was separated from his family and sent from camp to camp to camp for six years until he was liberated by the American army in 1945, six years later. He made his way first to Ireland, where he stayed with relatives, then to Canada, and finally to St. Louis, where he spent decades in the garment industry.

Holocaust Survivors Jerry And Mike Koenig Tell Their Story

Apr 28, 2014
via Wikimedia Commons

As young boys, Jerry and Mike Koenig escaped the ghetto in Warsaw, Poland and survived the last 22 months of the war by hiding in a bunker under a barn close enough to smell the smoke from the Treblinka death camp.

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, they joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in studio to tell their story. Jerry Koenig is now a resident of Chesterfield, and his brother Mike is visiting from Israel.

(via Flickr/slgckgc)

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center debuts a new interactive exhibit called “Change Begins With Me: Confronting Hate, Discrimination and Ethnic Conflict” this week on the premise that “the lessons of the Holocaust are not yet learned.”

(via Flickr/Martijn.Munneke)

Host Don Marsh talks with pianist and author Caroline Stoessinger.

Stoessinger is author of "A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor."

She is participating in the 34th Annual Jewish Book Festival.

Related Event

34th Annual Jewish Book Festival
November 4 – 15, 2012
Various Times
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 13, 2010 - Ali Sheqer Pashkaj was born in Puka, a tiny Albanian village of 30 families. His father, a devout Muslim, owned a small general store that sold food and provisions.

One afternoon during World War II a group of German soldiers passed by the store. They were escorting a young Jewish male who was to be shot, and Ali's father invited the soldiers into the store for a drink. In between his generous pours of red wine, he slipped a note to the young man inside a piece of melon. The note said to run and hide in the woods.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2010 - Learning about genocides through studying the Holocaust is a rite of passage for Jewish teenagers. But what comes after they graduate from religious school?

An event sponsored in part by the Young Professionals Division of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis aims to continue that education. “Anti-Genocide Activism” is a program that looks at genocides past and present and offers ways to take action to help prevent and stop the tragedies. The event begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2009 - At an early rehearsal for the fairy-tale opera "Brundibar," its stage director asked a boy soprano to imagine losing track of his sister on a walk home in the dark.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - Even 65 years later, there is no happy ending, no soothing thoughts about surviving the Holocaust for Dr. Gustav Schonfeld, a St. Louis doctor who was just 10 when Nazis forced his family into a filthy railcar for a brutal trip to Auschwitz.

Schonfeld, 75, the former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, has aptly titled his new memoir "Absence of Closure.''