Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: June 4, 1997

Release #328-97

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958 or Jackie Liesner (212) 687-9141


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Speaker Peter F. Vallone announced today that "A Living Memorial to the Holocaust Museum of Jewish Heritage" will become the 34th member of the Cultural Institutions Group, making it eligible for operating and energy support, as well as capital contributions from the City of New York. The announcement was made at a fundraising luncheon for the Holocaust Museum of Jewish Heritage at the Grand Ballroom in the Pierre Hotel.

"Speaker Vallone, the City Council, and I felt that the Museum merited the same standing as museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History," Mayor Giuliani said. "New York City is the center of the Jewish Diaspora. Over one million Jews live here, more than in any other city in the world, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It makes sense that here, we should recognize the worst human tragedy of the twentieth century, what has come to be known simply as the Holocaust," Mayor Giuliani continued. "The Holocaust Museum, which opens this fall, will do that and more. It will document the facts of the tragedy, which are all too often slipping away from later generations. It will show how tolerance is imperative. It will prove that life is to be cherished, protected, and lived every moment. All these things must be learned and relearned."

Also in attendance were Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, Chairman of the Living Memorial to the Holocaust Museum of Jewish Heritage; David Altshuler, the Director of the Museum; Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, a survivor of the Holocaust, trustee of the Museum, and Keynote speaker; and Rosa Stygler, a survivor of the Holocaust and a Museum trustee.

The Living Memorial to the Holocaust Museum of Jewish Heritage is set to open this fall in a 30,000 square foot facility in Battery Park City. The Museum's primary mission is to educate and inform people about 20th century Jewish history and the Holocaust. The Museum's exhibits will focus on three themes: Early 20th Century Jewish Life; the War against the Jews; and the Jewish Revival.

The Museum will be the principal public institution of Holocaust remembrance and education in the tri-state area. The Museum was created under the auspices of the New York Holocaust Memorial Commission, a public/private partnership established in 1983 by then Mayor Edward I. Koch for the purpose of creating a means to memorialize the dead of the Holocaust and to celebrate the contributions of Holocaust survivors to post-war America and New York City in particular.

With its focus on the history of the 20th century, and on the related themes of immigration, assimilation and overcoming prejudice, the Museum of Jewish Heritage has a unique historical perspective to offer which makes it a worthy addition to the Cultural Institutions Group. The Group includes a diverse body of organizations located in all five boroughs which collectively represent every major art form as well as various scientific disciplines.

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