Holocaust Memorial Museum to Open in Atlantic City

Published: July 22nd 2010
in News » World

Atlantic City

Amidst the cheers of casino gamblers and the fluorescent lights of kitschy tourist boutiques, the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk will now be home to a new Holocaust Memorial museum.


Given that this area is known to be a popular spot for drunks and the homeless, however, it is no doubt a controversial location for a Holocaust museum.


The idea for this memorial has been in the works for 29 years, since 1981. Then finally, in May 2008, The Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial was approved in a unanimous vote by members of the City Council.


Ed Colanzi, former City Council Commissioner and one of the project’s biggest enthusiasts, told Haaretz that “It’s a perfect location. People will see it, and hopefully learn something from it. I don’t happen to be Jewish, but it’s important because that memorial should let people know what’s happened in the past and what should never happen again.”


Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendents, feels differently. “It really depends on how this is put together,” she told Haaretz. “Obviously in that kind of environment, much greater care is going to have to be taken to make sure the topic is being handled with tremendous sensitivity and respect. The Atlantic City Boardwalk isn’t known to attract people who want to engage in particular introspection.”


There is also some concern about the safety of the area. 69-year-old Bob Greenberg frequently visits Atlantic City, and is quoted in Haaretz saying: “There’s no amount of security that will do anything. There’s never enough security for anything in this world today.” Store owners fear that the area’s homeless population will be problematic.


Despite public concern, memorial organizers remain undaunted. The museum will not be completely out of place, as the Atlantic City Boardwalk is also home to the New Jersey Korean Veterans War Memorial, Atlantic City Art Center and the Atlantic City Historical Museum. Additionally, the Boardwalk’s crowds and tremendous amount of foot-traffic will surely attract visitors.


Memorial organizers continue to accept donations from the public, as the project has a projected budget of $2 million to $4 million. They are taking all precautions to ensure that the museum will not be vulnerable to abuse. Rabbi Gordon Geller, president of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial’s executive committee, said that the memorial will be surrounded by a fence, security cameras and nighttime lighting, in addition to the police presence already currently in place along the Boardwalk.  


“The Boardwalk is very eclectic. It’s more than cotton candy and balloons,” Geller told Haaretz. “The ambiance of our Holocaust memorial is not such a rare and unusual thing.”

Related articles: (Atlantic City, Holocaust, memorial, museum)

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