The Holocaust Museum LA has received a $5 million gift from Eric and Susan Smidt of The Smidt Foundation, which will help the museum expand its physical footprint, eJewishPhilanthropy has learned.
Beth Kean, the museum’s CEO, told eJP that the Smidt Foundation gift is the largest-ever contribution to the Los Angeles museum from a family or foundation whose members are not descendants of Holocaust survivors or victims.
The museum was founded in 1961 by Holocaust survivors and their relatives, making it the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States. Its mission is to house their personal artifacts safely and in perpetuity, to memorialize their lost loved ones and to educate the public.
“We have been watching the rise in hate crimes against Blacks, Asians, Latinos and so many other communities across the country with great concern,” Eric Smidt told eJP. “And the dramatic rise in hate directed at Jews only a few generations following the Holocaust is deeply disturbing. We’re supporting Holocaust Museum LA for the same reason we’ve been longtime supporters of [the Anti-Defamation League], because we think education is the key to reversing these terrible trends.”