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September 07, 1984 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-07

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Toronto's memorial? The option was
never really examined, JCC Executive
Director Dr. Mort Plotnick said.
According to Dr. Plotnick, "It (the
HMC) was conceived of as a project
with the kind of specificity that would
deserve special treatment. As far as I
know, there were never any plans
drawn up, nor was any proposal ever
made, to incorporate the HMC into the
While the funds for the Holocaust
Memorial Center have come from pri-
vate sources, the Jewish Welfare Fed-
eration has agreed to match the
amount of private pledges with a
series of interest-free loans, according
to JWF President Joel Tauber.
"The advantage for the Holocaust
Memorial Center in receiving match-
ing funds from Federation is that
while pledges may come in over a
period of time, taking years to reach
their full amount, money from Federa-
tion, in the total amount of the pledge,
is forwarded immediately," Tauber
said. The JWF has thus far loaned the
HMC approximately $2.1 million
towards construction of the facility.
Rabbi Rosenzveig feels that the
fact that Detroit's Holocaust Memorial
Center will enjoy a national reputa-
tion as well as a local one partly jus-
tifies the multi-million dollar expendi-
tures. In regard to the national memo-
rial project in Washington, the rabbi
says he is "in favor of the idea, but not
very enthused," citing what he claims
will be the all-encompassing nature of
the monument as the primary reason
for his lukewarm support.
"This kind of memorial (the fed-
eral one) is better than nothing, but
it's no substitute for what we will have
in Detroit. There was a great deal of
controversy over the national memo-
rial. The Polish say they are also
Holocaust victims. So do the Ukra-

nians, the Armenians.
"In other words, the murderers
say that they are the victims.
"This is going to be a government
institution . . . so everything will be
subject to government approval. To-
day, the Jewish community may be
more important to them than the Arab
community. But when the Arab com-
munity becomes an important force,
they will say that Shatillah (the
Lebanese refugee camp that was the
site of the massacre of Palestinians by
Christian Lebanese during Israel's
Peace for Galilee campaign in 1982)
was also a Holocaust. You will have
Shatillah on one side, and the Warsaw
Ghetto on the other side."
"The U.S. memorial will not be
specifically Jewish. Other martyred
groups will be represented," Mark


Talisman, vice chairman of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Council in Wash-
ington acknowledged. But the memo-
rial, a proposed $100 million project
that will occupy three adjoining build-
ings on the Mall facing the Washing-
ton Monument, will concentrate on the
Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust, an event
"for which there is no answer."
The value of Detroit's Holocaust
Memorial Center, or, for that matter,
any attempt to memorialize the
Holocaust, goes much deeper than a
set of figures, Rabbi Rosenzveig feels.
"If we had to spend $25 million, or
$500 million, that would be nil in corn-
parison to the center's value. What-
ever we do is not enough in comparison
to what we should do. Because here,
you are dealing with the very core of
Jewish identity."

Bill Pugliano

memorial centers currently under
construction or in the planning stages
throughout North America.
Toronto, with a Jewish commu-
nity of about 125,000 (roughly twice
the size of Detroit's) is erecting a 2,000
square foot Holocaust memorial (ab-
out one-sixth the size of Detroit's
HMC) that will take the form of a new
wing at the city's Jewish Community
Center. "Everything is being done in a
single, open room, with all the multi-
media displays and projects inside,"
Morley Markson, designer and coor-
dinator of the Toronto center said in a
telephone interview with The Jewish
News last week.
The Holocaust memorial wing at
the Toronto Jewish Community Cen-
ter, which will utilize existing electri-
cal and plumbing fixtures, will be
completed by the end of 1984, at a total
cost of about $1 million (Canadian),
Markson said.
A $300,000 Memorial Center for
Holocaust Studies was dedicated at
the Dallas Jewish Community Center
last spring. Visitors enter the center
through a boxcar that was used by the
Nazis during World War II to trans-
port Jews to the camps. The railroad
car was donated by the Belgian gov-
ernment and shipped to Texas where it
was cut down and built into the
New York is considering a plan
that would use the first three floors of
the Federal Customs House at the
southern tip of Manhattan for a
museum to commemorate Jewish his-
tory and the Holocaust. The building
has been empty since the Customs
Service moved to the World Trade
Center in 1971.
Could Detroit's HMC have been
built in a more cost-efficient manner
by utilizing space inside the Jewish
Community Center, as in the case of

Friday, September 7, 1984

A painstakingly crafted diorama shows the burning of Jewish books by the Gestapo.

HMC director Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig at
the entrance of the $2.5 million center.

A scale model depicts a war-torn Berlin. The HMC dioramas are the work of British architect James Gardener, who designed the Beth
Hatefutsoth museum in Israel.

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