Efforts to build the first educational Holocaust Memorial in Murrieta’s Town Square Park are moving ahead as Murrieta city officials, members of the southwest Riverside County Jewish community and Christian supporters plan a November groundbreaking.
The Murrieta City Council recently approved the response to build the memorial that was initiated by the Congregation B’nai Chaim in Murrieta with the help of Jewcer – The Chosen Crowdfunding Platform, a nonprofit organization seeking to raise $80,000 for the memorial. Thus far more than $10,000 has been donated by residents of the valley.
The Holocaust Remembrance Foundation of Valley has been formed to lead the building of the Holocaust Memorial as a reminder to the community of the deaths of more than 5 million German Jews carried out by German Nazi Party under the control of Adolf Hitler before and during World War II.
Members of Congregation B’nai Chaim said, “Every year, the history and the memory of the Holocaust moves a little further back into the past. Although there are many educational efforts out there to continue teaching the history of the Holocaust, the number of people who are ignorant and unaware of the Holocaust is dramatically increasing. This is especially the case in our slice of the world.”
Speaking about the planned memorial at the recent Murrieta council meeting, Irv Michlin, board member with Congregation B’nai Chaim, said, “As far as we know, this is the first educational Holocaust Memorial in the county. The goal for this memorial is to inspire the community to face hatred and genocide and foster human dignity.”
At that meeting, Murrieta Mayor Jonathan Ingram said that there are many things in his life that he is honored to be engaged in and the Holocaust Memorial happened to be one of them.
“This has been an amazing process to watch with how endeared people are to this and what it means and that we can never forget, as Christians, as human beings that we are obligated to make sure that something like this, never transpires again,” Ingram said. “It’s very important, and it’s a privilege to work with you anyway I can.”
The planned memorial also has the support of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.
“How important it is that our children will have a learning opportunity outside the classroom as well as inside, so that they will never forget the lessons of the past,” Patrick Kelley, superintendent of MVUSD, said.
HRFV said the memorial is designed to be an interactive experience and the layout will welcome viewers to sit, meditate and learn. It will be a space for the general public, students and educators to explore the story of the Holocaust across 10 vertical, 6-foot panels that will tell the story of how anti-Semitism throughout history led to Nazism and the Holocaust. But it will also tell the story of liberation, immigration to Israel and a hope for the future.
It aligns with the foundation’s motto: “Out of despair… hope.”
To donate to the Holocaust Memorial or for more information, visit http://www.hrfv.org/donate.
Tony Ault can be reached by email at email@example.com.