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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated on this date in 1993, fifteen years after President Jimmy Carter had established the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, which was charged with the task of memorialization and chaired by survivor and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel. The Museum was built on 1.9 acres of the National Mall at a cost of nearly $200 million, all of it raised through private donations. The architect was James Ingo Freed, a German-born Jew whose family fled from Nazi rule in 1939, when he was 9. (Freed also designed the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.) The first visitor to the Museum was the Dalai Lama. Two million people now visit annually. To read Elie Wiesel’s dedication speech, click here.
“People who come from different horizons, who belong to different spheres, who speak different languages — they should feel united in memory. And, if possible at all, with some measure of grace, we should, in a way, be capable of reconciling ourselves with the dead. To bring the living and the dead together in a spirit of reconciliation is part of that vision.” —Elie Wiesel, remarks at the dedication
In January, 2014 The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum added this 38-minute video overview of the Holocaust, “The Path to Nazi Genocide”: