A MISSION TO COMBAT INTOLERANCE
The murder of millions of people in Europe during Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Regime from 1933 to 1945 wasn’t the only reason Holocaust survivor and El Paso resident Henry Kellen decided to establish the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center in the 1980’s. The surge of Holocaust denial across America during the 1980’s, reported with regularity nationwide by major media outlets, was perhaps the more powerful reason. In fact, Kellen had never spoken publicly about his Holocaust experiences once arriving in the United States, a result of a promise he and his first wife Julia had made to each other. But the rise of a Neo-Nazi movement and the proliferation of Holocaust denials convinced Mr. Kellen to take action. Hitler’s genocidal regime dominated Europe during World War ll and was responsible for the mass murder of over six million Jews and five million non-Jewish victims of ethnic and political origin, including avowed homosexuals and the mentally disabled. Hitler established thousands of facilities in Nazi Germany and German-occupied territories that were designed to confine and execute his victims. Some, however, like Kellen, survived.
Kellen’s first Museum and Study Center opened in 1984, located in the Jewish Community Center on El Paso’s west side. Support grew and, by 1994, the Museum had its own center next door. After a devastating fire in 2001, funds were raised to rebuild the Museum, now located in an artfully designed building in El Paso’s Downtown Museum District. Today, the Museum continues to carry out its mission of educating the public about the Nazi Holocaust in the hope that similar acts will never be repeated. The Museum also honors those who died in the Holocaust as well as those who survived and, by reminding the world of the importance of acceptance, reinforces the value and dignity of human life.
El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center