The proposed Holocaust Museum and Educational Center will occupy a five acre sight near the Old Train Station from which 50,000 Greeks were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen in 1943.
“With the Holocaust Museum, Boutaris believes that Thessaloniki, apart from the obvious benefits of tourism and raising the city’s profile, will become a symbol to promote tolerance and fight racism.” (‘A global monument against racism in Thessaloniki’ eKathimerini 20 December 2017)
The new six story structure, reminiscent of Thessaloniki’s great landmark the White Tower(link), will be a 7000 square meter steel and glass cylinder as suggested in the architectural rendering. The building is co-designed by two firms, one in Tel Aviv and the other in Berlin.
As mayor Boutaris has been insistent in his efforts to confront the tragic history of his city and highlight as unacceptable intolerance and racism against all peoples. The new institution includes ‘educational’ in its title for good reason. Funding for the project is secured – with €20 million coming from the German Government with additional capital from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The organizers hope to begin building later in 2017 and open the facility in 2019.
“Boutaris has been instrumental in acknowledging the city’s rich Jewish history and the extent of its devastation. Earlier this year (2013) he organized a public march to commemorate 70 years since the first deportations, the first such display by the Jewish community since the end of the war.” (‘Thessaloniki to build Holocaust Museum and Research Center’ Jerusalem Post 23 December 2013)