On April 15, 1984, the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies opened its doors on the lower level of the Dallas Jewish Community Center. The purpose of the center is to keep the terrors of the Holocaust in the minds of present and future generations, so that they will never allow anything like it to occur again. Many individuals contributed to the establishment of the center, as did the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
Visitors enter the center through an original boxcar used to transport Jews to concentration and death camps and a foyer containing Holocaust exhibits. Off the foyer is a library and research room. The display room is also connected to the foyer. In this room are photographs of the history of the Third Reich, of ghettos, concentration camps, and crematoriums, of atrocities and liberators. Artifacts of the Holocaust are exhibited in display cases, and films of the Holocaust are shown. The most imposing room connected to the foyer is the memorial room, in which is a large tabular "memorial stone" surrounded by twelve pillars inscribed with the names of concentration camps and connected by heavy barbed wire. With the monument is a bronze image by Ruth Litwin of a flame and hand, entitled Grasping for Life. In this room wall plaques commemorate the names of family members of survivors, names of survivors who have died since World War II, and names of non-Jews who tried to save Jews from the death camps.
The center is supported by donations, gifts, fund drives, and membership fees. An executive director is responsible for its operation and for maintaining a working relationship with schools, colleges, churches, and synagogues. In conjunction with Southern Methodist University, the center is involved in preserving the oral history of Holocaust survivors and liberators on videotape. A board composed partly of Holocaust survivors administers the center.