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April 12, 1985 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14 Friday, April 12, 1985



Is The National
Holocaust Memorial
Worth $10 Million?

While the concept of a Holocaust -
memorial in the nation's capital might
seem as sacrosanct as motherhood
and apple pie, there is an increasing
amount of 6ontroversy
about whether
or not the money could be better
spent sortie other way.

• Speci;22-to The Jewish

A brick barn, designed in a Dutch style and used at one time by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was originally
designated as the site of the Holocaust memorial. It still bears a plaque announcing its purpose.

"Campaign to Remember" is the
,way phones are being answered now at
headquarters for the National
Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Washington, D.C. The slogan's in-
tended meaning is that the fund-
raising effort will pay for a museum
which furthers Holocaust remembr-
ance. Considering the size of the cam-
paign goal — $100 million from pri-
vate donations that slogan can be
read with a second, unintended mean-
ing. The campaign, some say, is a
memorable event in itself.
And not without controversy. Al-
though the concept of a Holocaust
memorial museum in the nation's
capitol may seem beyond reproach, as
sacrosant as motherhood and apple
pie, a number of Jewish leaders feel
the planned project is too costly and
"Given the fact that many major
communities have poured substantial
funds into their own Holocaust memo-
rials and museums, I think it's a shan-
dah (scandal) for us to spend $100 mil-
lion oji a project like this," says Wayne
Feinstein, executive vice president of
the Jewish Welfare Federation of De-
The project that he and others
have ;raised questions about is the Na-
tional Holocaust Memotial Museum,
to be built on a site assigned by the
Government just 400 yards from the
Washington Monument.
When the Government Services
Administration assigned the location
to the Holocaust Memorial Council in
1981, two vacant buildings on the
premises were heralded as being ideal
to house the museum. The historic
buildings were described as haunt-
ingly reminiscent of a concentration
camp and an economic boon to the
project. Current plans, however, call
for razing both structures and starting
a new.
"The buildings are on the historic
register over the objections of the state
historic association," explains Marcia
Feldman, director of communications
for the Holocaust Memorial Council.
"Originally, they were a stable and a
laundry, annexes to more important
buildings. They have no instrinsic
ur t,1
t 381;taWc14#411
We tried to shoehorn this rather am-
bitious project into it," says Feldman,
"but we need more than 200,000 --
square feet." Feldman expects to have
building permits from the five public
agencies that control construction in
the area by year's end.
Construction of the new museum
is estimated at $25-30 million. Miles
Lerman, a lay co-director of the
Holocaust Memorial Council's cam-
paign cabinet, outlines the rest of the
budget, stressing that the categories
are still rough. "You have to be com-
fortable moving $5 million from here
to there," he says. A satellite link-up
with other museums and universities
is ticketed at $15 million. Educational
facilities, museum displays and archi-

■ I


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