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DEC 17, 2010

The New Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles (www.haaretz.co.il)

The new Holocaust museum in Los Angeles, which was inaugurated a few weeks ago at the multiplayer, is difficult to identify at first glance. It is carved into a large public park west of the city next to playgrounds and sports, and a green roof planted vegetation. The only hint of its existence is a kind of long, narrow corridor leading to the underground and put the visitors never ever day of memory and commemoration.

"This is the most prominent Holocaust museums built in the last decade is their class of architecture and use of motifs taken directly from the death camps and ghettos, "says architect Hagee (Haggai) Belzberg. "We wanted to create a building that could connect the upcoming environment - and vice versa, the building will be a receptacle of content and representation of history. " The museum planned a response can be seen monumental characterizes the impressive new Holocaust museums were built in Berlin, Washington and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. For two decades, all by well-known architects. He proves that architects can find a solution to an attentive and sensitive, a relatively small budget, and charged complex historical content. Museum of Los Angeles (LAMOTH) is the oldest of its kind in the United States. It was established in 1961 by a group of survivors and townspeople who wanted to share their stories with the public. It is based on personal items left in their hands, like a yellow star, photos and various documents, recently donated a few items of historical information courtesy of the Research Center of the Auschwitz death camp.

Over the years, the museum moved between several rented buildings in the city until the federal government of California agreed to allocate its own space. Selected field is located in Pan Pacific Park Beverly - Fairfax where many of my friends living Jewish community. Gilad was already in place in memory of victims of the Holocaust Museum is another side of the urban memorial site.

Unlike the popular Museum of Tolerance huge budgets established in downtown Los Angeles by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the new museum seeks to modestly to the personal stories of survivors. He built a small budget of $ 15 million target population are school children. "Los Angeles is a city spokeswoman hundred languages - Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Weiatanmit - but the historical lessons of the Holocaust is important to every person regardless of origin," says Belzberg. To give access to the contents of multi population - cultural arrives, each visitor gets an iPod with a touchscreen interface in four languages. IPod connected with the visit using wireless sensors are displayed. "The first example is shown in a video clip that shows survivor named Jack Taylor. It appeals to visitors and as a teenager attended high school in the next street. Then he starts talking about his escape Nazi Europe. It makes the whole thing a local story of the Los Angeles, something very close behind. "

Experiencing the museum is both symbolic and universal stems from its seemingly trivial - in a public park adjacent to the parking lot of a neighborhood shopping center. The main entrance is located in the corridor burrowing into the ground. Visitors walk down while the sounds from outside are disappearing. The building itself is an organized timeline. All space is devoted to a different era - "Life before the war," Kristallnacht "and so on. Spaces themselves are going to deepen in the ground also disappears accordingly natural lighting. The deepest space, dedicated to the extermination camps, completely dark. "We wanted to refine the statement that life in Europe continued to operate normally during the extermination camps there were terrible things. The contrast between the hard content of the museum and nature today - Daily of the park represents it well."

Belzberg has Israeli parents who immigrated to the United States in the 70s for academic studies (his psychologist and his father an engineer.) Disrupted school friends the name Haggai Hagi and is careful to explain that even fix them. After completing his undergraduate studies in Architecture at Harvard, he worked for the Jewish architect - American Frank Gehry for a short period, and then set up an independent office. Today he discusses the parallel design of public and private projects. Planning the Holocaust Museum is involved in seven years. The museum can be associated with the digital style of contemporary architecture, primarily the design of all parts of the building and its details through the computer. West coast is the focus of the activities of several prominent digital architects like Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn, in part thanks to the advanced production technologies that are there.

The decision to place the museum in the ground due to urban strategy - integration of the ecological environment and maintaining the continuity of the green areas in the park. In this respect, it joins a series of contemporary projects, digging in the ground, such as "city of culture" that builds the American architect Peter Eisenman in Galicia in Spain. Los Angeles, characterized the topography of hills and valleys, it looks like the right decision.

The building externally linked motifs completely innocent of Judaism or representations of the death camps. Belzberg Secretary of the Berlin Jewish Museum (designed by Daniel Libeskind), consisting of sections like "The Road of Death", "Holocaust Tower and The Garden of Exile", and Detroit's Holocaust Museum is built of red brick walls echo the massive wooden fences surrounding the camps. He believes that in the case of Los Angeles, a city that is not geographically or politically related to the Holocaust, was not to design a building that competes with the content. "Representation is not a Jewish building because he is not building 'Jew'. The Holocaust is a global disaster when you try to talk with the public here in the city you need to speak a particular language. You have to remember that the ideology defeat the Jews and other groups also toppling Europe. The Holocaust is not related to architecture, but people who experienced it ".

Do you think the great museums of the Holocaust have lost their relevance today?

"Absolutely not. I think they have tremendous relevance. If a community with economic power, political establishment you can build a building like that. Monumental speaks to many cultures and still very relevant. But even if you do not have this opportunity does not mean you should not to the Museum. "

Anti-architecture - symbolic of Belzberg may become irrelevant. If the building is a "receptacle" content, which ties him to actually populate the Holocaust preventing it from another public institution? In addition, because of its handsome curved lines there is a feeling sometimes too nice to stay at the museum. High world Holocaust memorial institutions dull excitement, one could ask whether burial of the Holocaust Museum in the ground is something true, or it may be still too tepid role that he plays for the visitors.