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Feb 02, 2012
When news broke about the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center being foreclosed upon, I was shocked, and thought it was probably the result of our lack-luster economy.
However, after reading a few posts about it, it seems that the building in Hollywood, Fla., was bought by the museum several years ago as a place to teach people about the atrocities of the Holocaust, remember the victims and preserve the testimonies of survivors.
But that hasn’t happened.
The city, which sold the building at 2031 Harrison St. to the Holocaust Center in 2004. The 15-year mortgage was for $1.2 million, plus interest, according to reports. The museum, though, has not paid on the mortgage at all.
Sounds simple enough to me, the bank should foreclose. However, it’s not that easy — there are definitely extenuating circumstances.
The Holocaust Center has spent $3 million in repairs to the property. Does everyone recall the 1980s movie “Money Pitt?”
Needless to say, many of the problems the Center faced should have shown up in an inspection of the property. Well, that’s in a perfect world, where building inspectors never make mistakes!
Local attorney Steve Geller, who is representing the Center pro bono, says the Center cannot now meet its mortgage obligation.
In an interview the Huffington Post, Geller said, "Recently, the city condemned the second floor of the Holocaust Center because of code violations that had been there for decades. The city is enforcing these violations on a building that the city sold us and confirmed in writing didn't have code violations!"
Lotta “Dottie” Stone, a former teacher and a scholar with a doctorate in Holocaust history and genocide studies, recently joined the Center. Stone and other Center leaders predict that even with their on-going building issues, the museum and education center will survive — it just may not be in Hollywood.
Let’s hope that’s true. Even though it’s a story that never fails to bring tears to my eyes, it’s a story that needs to be told.