Founders of the Museum

FROM THE COLLECTION

Letter from Ignatz Rokosz, one of the first prisoners at Auschwitz. Dated December 1940.

Letter from Ignatz Rokosz, one of the first prisoners at Auschwitz. Dated December 1940.

ABOUT THE ARCHIVE

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) is the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States.  In 1961 at Hollywood High School, a group of Survivors taking English as a Second Language classes found one another and shared their experiences.  They discovered that each of them had a photograph, concentration camp uniform, or other precious primary source object from the Holocaust era.  They decided that these artifacts needed a permanent home where they could be displayed safely and in perpetuity.  They also wanted a place to memorialize their dead and help to educate the world so that no one would ever forget.  Some of these founding Survivors remain active on the LAMOTH Board of Directors today.

LAMOTH is always free because the founding Survivors insisted that no visitors ever be turned away from learning about the Holocaust for lack of an entry fee.

With a small and dedicated staff, the Museum fulfills its mission to commemorate and educate.

On October 14, 2010, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust opened the doors to its new building in Pan Pacific Park. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, with Museum representatives and Holocaust Survivors, opened the doors to the new home of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust located in Pan Pacific Park. City officials including City Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Assemblyman Michael Feuer and Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky also participated in the Opening Ceremony.

The new building, designed by acclaimed architect Hagy Belzberg, has one of the largest intensive green roofs in California and is on track to receive LEED Gold Certification. The design received the Los Angles Cultural Affairs Commission Design Honor Award and the Green Building Design Award. The architecture and layout plays a significant role in visitors’ experiences as the nine rooms descend and decrease in light as visitors progress towards the darkest part of history. Technology functions as a tool to enhance the experience and takes several forms throughout the Museum including interactive video and audio exhibits.

The grand opening brings to a close a four-year process that included unanimous approval by the City Council, the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and execution of a 50-year lease agreement by the City Attorney along with years of structural planning and building and consultation with the community.