Dallas is a city of “upstanders.” Those who fight for what’s right, giving the voiceless a voice so that we can learn from the tragedies of the past. That upstander spirit is part of what drives the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which entered the final phase of construction of its new home in the West End on Tuesday.
It’s also an ideal that is deeply felt by Max Glauben, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and co-founder of the museum. Glauben was 17 and an oprhan when he came to the U.S. in 1947. A native of Poland, Glauber had survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek, Budzyń, Mielec, Wieliczka, and Flossenburg concentration camps, and the Death March to Dachau. When he was liberated by the U.S. Army on April 23, 1945, he never he dreamed that he would live in America, or that he would be drafted to serve in the Korean War. He never envisioned starting a family here, or finding in Dallas a Holocaust survivors’ support system, or of helping start a museum with those survivors.
“There is goodness in the city of Dallas,” he said, making it a fitting place for Glauben and the museum to spread love and hope for a better world. The construction of this new building for the museum is a milestone for Glauben, for the other survivors, and for those who are gone.
Workers broke ground on the 51,000-square-foot, $73.5 million facility, not far from the museum’s current home in the West End, last fall. On Tuesday many gathered again for a “Topping Out Ceremony,” at which survivors signed a support beam and watched it bolted into the building’s frame. This group included not only Holocaust survivors but also survivors of the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, two other horrific human rights tragedies that will be featured in the museum. The people who lost their lives were honored with letters that were sealed in a time capsule, which will be encased in the walls of the museum.
Glauben’s letter paid tribute to the small group of survivors who, decades ago, first decided to open a permanent Holocaust museum. With this new building, the museum hopes to broaden its impact with a facility that will welcome more visitors and feature exhibitions exploring the causes and ramifications of the Holocaust and other genocidal events. It is envisioned as a warning of the horrors humanity is capable of, and as a testament to the importance of human rights. Education is critical to “forget hate and bigotry.”
The museum is expected to open in September 2019.