By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

Murrieta City Council approves Holocaust Memorial for Town Square Park


Last updated 4/5/2018 at 11:52am

Dec. 28, 2017 - The city of Murrieta is one step closer to bringing a Holocaust Memorial to Town Square Park with the unanimous approval of a donation agreement issued by that city’s council at its Dec. 19 meeting.

The memorial, a collaboration between the Jewish and Christian communities, is estimated to cost roughly $411,000 and will be covered by the nonprofit Holocaust Remembrance Foundation of the Valley. With the council’s approval, the nonprofit can begin their fundraising campaign for the project.

It is estimated that up to 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and it is the hope of the foundation to build the first educational Holocaust Memorial in Riverside County, according to Congregation B’nai Chaim board member Irv Michlin.

“As far as we know, this is the first educational Holocaust Memorial in the county,” he said.

The memorial, featuring 10 vertical panels, would be located on the north side of Town Square Park and is designed to fit into scale with the other memorials in the park. The panels would start with the rise of antisemitism and end with the freeing of those held in concentration camps as well as honor those who fought to free the Jewish people from the camps.

During the council meeting, Murrieta’s Parks and Recreation Manager Lea Kolek said the purpose of the proposed memorial is to pay tribute to the memory of those who lost their lives and suffered through the Holocaust.

“The goal for this memorial is to inspire the community to face hatred and genocide and foster human dignity,” she said.

The idea for the memorial came about following increased attendance at the annual March of Remembrance held in the city, according to the Rev. Jack Flournoy, who told council the purpose of the memorial, in addition to Kolek’s comments, was to honor survivors of the Holocaust who call the city home.

“At one time, there were about 25 survivors of the Holocaust who lived in Murrieta,” he said. “Most have passed on of course, but we do have a few left.”

He said it would be designed so that people could learn and would tell the story from the beginning to the end.

“You can see this can happen not just now but for generations to come,” he said.

Councilman Rick Gibbs said that this memorial is really a memorial that goes well beyond, “because it is for all of humanity.”

Mayor Jonathan Ingram said that there are many things in his life that he is honored to be engaged in and the Holocaust Memorial happened to be one of them.

“This has been an amazing process to watch with how endeared people are to this and what it means and that we can never forget, as Christians, as human beings that we are obligated to make sure that something like this, never transpires again,” he said. “It’s very important and it’s a privilege to work with you anyway I can.”

Ingram said he would be the first to write a check in support of the memorial.

In other news, council approved a resolution to support the “Move I-15 Through Temecula” task force which addresses the freeway congestion throughout the valley. The council will appoint two members to the task force. The city council also adopted a resolution authorizing the purchase of new streetlights and to finance retrofitting of streetlights.


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