Remembering the Holocaust

As the spectre of belligerent nationalism looms over Europe once more in the wake of western Communism's collapse, a timely reminder of the horrors of racial intolerance comes this month with the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.

The $168 million building cost was raised entirely through private donations, with over fifty individual gifts of $1,000,000 or more, and on land provided by the federal government. Occupying 250,000 square feet, three of its six floors house a large permanent exhibition. Its director, Raye Farr, says the aim is 'to teach and memorialise' the events of the Holocaust.

The hunt for materials began in 1980 when the museum was officially sanctioned by an Act of Congress. The USA and Western Europe yielded a valuable crop of artefacts. Many people parted with objects of intense personal value, like Lili Deutsch of Los Angeles who donated her 'schutz pass' (protective passport) initialled by the Swedish diplomat and anti-Nazi hero Raoul Wallenberg.

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