THE Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) will relocate to temporary premises in Caulfield for around two years while a dynamic new museum is being built at its Elsternwick location, as part of the new Jewish Cultural Precinct.
JHC director Jayne Josem announced that in April this year, JHC will turn off the lights and by May most of the buildings at its Selwyn Street premises – except for a heritage facade – will have been demolished.
However, while the museum’s public activities will be significantly curtailed, its education program will not stop over this period, she said.
“The JHC has made a commitment to our survivors and to the community to educate as many students and adults as possible with the vital lessons of the Holocaust. We are on track to build a much bigger facility with two world-class museums, state-of-the-art learning studios and a vital Holocaust library and resource centre.”
Helen Mahemoff, co-chair of the JHC capital campaign, stated, “We are extremely grateful to generous members of the community, as well as the federal and state government, for their outstanding support of our vision. We are truly heartened by the response as it is an endorsement of the vision of the survivors who founded the centre and the ongoing efforts of so many volunteers. Our capital campaign is still running as we seek funds to ensure that we can install the best museum possible to educate visitors well into the future.”
From its new temporary location near Caulfield railway station, the JHC will continue to present public lectures from visiting academics, as well as survivor talks for the general public, and is working on a number of other initiatives to keep the community engaged with Holocaust education and memorialisation.
Being near Caulfield station will be convenient for schools, most of which use public transport to visit the museum, said Josem.
“We will not be operating a museum for the general public during this period, but will continue to operate a Holocaust resource centre for family and academic research, as well as maintaining our vast archive.
“It is indeed challenging to pack up a building which contains so many memories, and we are being very careful about preserving the memorabilia of the building. One of the most significant undertakings is the extremely careful packing up of the archives, under the supreme care of Dr Anna Hirsh, the centre’s archivist. Anna is making customised boxes for each sculpture or precious artefact and making special pillows to pad items in the boxes,” Josem said.