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First Orthodox Jewish Holocaust Museum to Open in Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s first Holocaust museum, the first Holocaust museum in the world to focus on Orthodox Jews, will open next spring.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/9/2012, 7:28 PM

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Reuters

Brooklyn’s first Holocaust museum, which will also be the first Holocaust museum in the world to focus exclusively on Orthodox Jews, is expected to open next spring, The New York Daily News reported.

David Layman, who is also the co-creator of the National September 11th Memorial & Museum, is currently laying out the groundwork for Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on 50th Street, which will focus on Orthodox Jewish life before, during, and after World War Two.

According to the center’s website, the mission of the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center is “transmitting an appreciation of the spiritual and moral heroism,” of the Jewish victims.

“Our design approach is telling the story through the eyes of the people themselves. The Brooklyn community is featured prominently,” Layman said. “The artifacts, photos, and papers are primarily from Borough Park.”

The four-story center is comprised of a museum, research library, and an interview room where survivors can record and document their own, personal accounts of Nazi atrocities.

Also on display will be rabbinical rulings issued in the 1940s pertaining to laws of kashrut, specifically, whether or not starving Jews in the Nazi ghettos were permitted to eat non-kosher food.

“Jewish children in Brooklyn aren’t getting much exposure to the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Sholom Friedman, the Center’s director. “A museum in such a Jewish heavy area makes sense. The Orthodox were singled out. They were more noticeably Jewish.”

To date, some of the artifacts donated by survivors have included one of the last German visas to be issued in 1939 and a marriage certificate signed at a displacement camp in Landsberg, Germany in 1945.

The Center is currently asking city families to donate photos, documents, and other artifacts from World War II. Brooklyn is home to approximately 9,000 Holocaust survivors, the largest contingent outside of Israel.