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Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust Breaks Ground

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The Grove's new neighbor is considerably less trendy than an outpost of Abercrombie & Fitch, but also far more important. A symbolic ground-breaking ceremony was held yesterday in Pan Pacific Park (pictured) for the new permanent facilities of Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The Museum is a development of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, and will be the only museum in the city to focus exclusively on the Holocaust.

Yesterday's ceremony also marked the 63rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, one of the most well-known and deadly of the WWII concentration camps in Europe. The event was attended by local officials, as well as many survivors of the camp, and those who are affiliated with the other local museum that focuses on international unity and the Jewish experience, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance.

One such person is Thomas Blatt, who "took part in ringing 12 bells at the event - six for the 6million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and six more for the other 6million victims from other groups Nazi Germany sought to exterminate," according to the Daily News. Local survivors agree that it is vital we continue to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and share the information with the younger generation. "The museum's new building will have the capacity to teach some 50,000 students a year about the Holocaust, officials said."

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Construction on the building is expected to take three years, and the cost will be upwards of $20 million, $9 million of which "has already either been donated or pledged." The museum "will be built into a slight hill in Pan Pacific Park and will feature large exhibit rooms, an audiovisual room, offices, a library and archives and rooftop landscaping." It was designed by local architect Hagy Belzberg, who drew some of his training working for Frank Gehry.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was on hand to participate in the event yesterday, shares the museum's philosophy that it is essential for contemporary communities to learn from the Holocaust and to work towards eradicating genocide. He also shares the community's philosophy that Los Angeles is the ideal location for such an endeavor, citing our diversity and the need to live together in shared space.

Photo of Pan Pacific Park by numberstumper via Flickr