Arizona Jewish Historical Society unveils plans for Holocaust education center

Arizona Jewish Historical Society unveils plans for Holocaust education center

(Rendering courtesy of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society)

By Robert Gundran

December 5, 2023

A Holocaust education center is coming to Arizona in the next couple of years.

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society announced on Nov. 29 that it was breaking ground on a Holocaust education center in downtown Phoenix in 2024. The goal of the center is to create an emotional connection to the events of one of the world’s biggest atrocities through original artifacts and stories from local survivors.

“Now more than ever, we need to teach students and public alike about the dangers of radicalization, and show them where such incendiary rhetoric will lead,” Dr. Lawrence Bell, executive director of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, said in a press release.

Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the US and the largest city in the country without a permanent Holocaust education center or museum.

The Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center will be in a 27,000-square-foot new building just northeast of Interstate 10 and Central Avenue, at the site of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, just next to the Burton Barr Central Library.

Gallagher and Associates, a design firm, is creating content and exhibits for the new center. The firm has created projects for The National World War II Museum in Louisiana, the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado, and the National Museum of African American Music in Tennessee.

The museum is expected to open in 2026.

Some elected officials in the area praised the plan to build the center.

“With the creation of this $18M tech-forward institution, we will continue to educate residents and visitors about Jewish bravery, strength, and resilience,” Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari said on Twitter.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer also praised the plans and thanked the donor whose named will be attached to the center.

“Thanks to Steve Hilton and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society for making this happen,” Richer said on Twitter.

Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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