The Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center will be Brooklyns first Holocaust museum, as well as the first Holocaust museum in the world to focus exclusively on Orthodox Jews. The mission of the KFHEC is to transmit an appreciation of the spiritual and moral heroism of the Jewish victims.
A visit to the KFHEC will begin with an orientation film, played in the entry plaza. The purpose of the film is to capture the attention of the visitors, to introduce them to the Holocaust and the themes singular to the KFHEC. The film is narrated by the voices of survivors; their words are riveting.
Jewish children in Brooklyn arent getting much exposure to the Holocaust, said Rabbi Sholom Friedman, the Centers director. A museum in such a Jewish heavy area makes sense. It is critical that the next generation is brought up knowing about this.
According to a recent UJA study, 23% of Brooklyns 2.4 million residents are Jewish, including an estimated 9,000 Holocaust survivors, the largest survivor population outside of Israel. To date, some of the artifacts donated by survivors are a German visa issued in 1939 and a marriage certificate signed at a displacement camp in Landsberg, Germany in 1945. The museum is also collecting religious artifacts from the Holocaust including books, Torah scrolls, and ritual garments. The Center is currently asking families to donate photos, documents, and other artifacts from World War II.
What makes the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center unique is its focus on the spiritual and moral dimensions to the Holocaust; in particular: conveying the grandeur of the life of religiously-observant Jewry in Europe, which was so tragically destroyed; transmitting an appreciation of the spiritual and moral heroism, evinced by so many people who, despite experiencing horrors of unprecedented nature, in conditions well beyond the limits of human endurance, retained their unshakable faith, and steadfastly maintained their adherence to the practices and traditions with which they had grown up; underscoring the miraculous resurgence of the Jewish religious world, in the post-Holocaust era, and the continuity maintained, through profound links with, and deep roots in, the pre-Holocaust world that was destroyed.
The home of the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center is in a beautiful, newly-constructed five-story synagogue building. One floor serves as the heart of the Center, with a striking atrium area and a time-line around the perimeter of the walls, conveying the history of the Holocaust; a permanent exhibition, revolving around nine themes intimately connected to the Centers mission; space for temporary exhibitions; a comprehensive library, consisting of both books as well as a videos; a theaterette; tables and computer terminals; booths, for personal-selection viewing, from a menu of programs prepared specifically for the Center; seminar and lecture areas; both audio as well as visual recording facilities, to record survivor testimony, as well as educational programs taking place at the Center; computerized links to museums, archives, films and photographs.
The center is located at Agudas Yisroel Zichron Moshe, 1561 50th Street, in Brooklyn. It is expected to open next spring.