FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.Head south on Orchard Lake Road, one of suburban Detroit's busiest streets, and on your right, you'll pass a strip mall, a bank, a Chinese restaurant, and what appears to be a Nazi concentration camp.
Actually, it's a new Holocaust museum that resembles a death camp.
Its brick walls are surrounded by wire reminiscent of the electrified barbed wire at Auschwitz. The building's top half is painted in blue and gray vertical stripes, as if it were clothed in an inmate's uniform. A tall elevator shaft looks like a crematorium chimney. Steel tubes resemble gallows.
More than 49,000 cars pass the museum daily, and many of the Detroit area's 96,000 Jews live nearby. Some Jews here, including many survivors, approve of the museum, saying the Holocaust should be displayed in all its gruesomeness, to warn future generations about the consequences of intolerance. It's proper for the museum to be "offensive," says Ira Goldberg, a 39-year-old teacher. "When people pass the building, they should say, 'What the hell is that?'"
Other Jews feel the museum belongs in a more serene setting, rather than on a commercial street, where people must pass it on their way to dinner or the movies. Some say it isn't fair to make everyone live with such a disturbing structure. Imagine an African-American history museum shaped like a lynching tree, they say, or a Sept. 11 memorial featuring flaming towers with airplanes crashing through them.
Built on a nine-acre plot over the shell of a former movie theater, the museum was designed so that every detail is meaningful. […] The museum's red bricks were selected to match those that walled Jews into ghettos. The trees surrounding the museum are stunted and wiry, to suggest starving inmates. One section of the building, painted with inmate stripes, juts into the barbed wire. That represents prisoners who tried to escape. Railroad tracks crisscross the entryway to remind visitors of the death-camp transports.
Rabbi Rosenzveig likes looking at the quizzical faces of drivers stuck in traffic outside the museum. "Stand and watch them," he says. "They're pointing out their windows."
The Wall Street Journal 10.08.03
Some of my best friends are Jews, and with all due respect to them and their people…
OKAY. We get it. The Holocaust was bad. I think, all kidding aside, most everyone would agree that the Holocaust was bad.
Is it really necessary for suburban Detroiters to revisit the Holocaust every day on their way to and from work or school? This museum is the equivalent of Dan Snyder's parents putting a wrecked bloody car on their front lawn. They would never do that though, because no one wants to be reminded of tragedy day after day. Knowledge of it is enough.
The people behind this Holocaust museum should have built it 20 miles down in Dearborn, where Arabs make up roughly one-third of the city's population.