CARSON CITY — Nevada could soon get its own Holocaust museum under a bill making its way through the Assembly.
Assembly Bill 257, which if passed would establish the museum under the state’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, would make Nevada the 30th state in the U.S. with a museum dedicated to memorializing the millions of Jews and others killed during the genocide at Nazi concentration camps in the 1930s and 1940s.
The bill will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs on Friday.
“I think that it’s so important that we remember the Holocaust because those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it,” said Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, R-Reno, who is sponsoring the bill.
While it would be recognized as a state museum under the legislation, the museum would be entirely privately funded, said Sigal Chattah, who is helping to support the museum’s creation.
But Chattah, the chair of the Israeli American Civil Action Network in Nevada, said it’s about more than just memorializing the Holocaust. It’s about fighting back against the recent rise in anti-Semitism globally and fending off revisionist history, she said.
Chattah pointed to events in Lithuania, where a recent debate rages on over whether a long-celebrated anti-communist war hero was actually a Nazi collaborator during World War II, and to the continued denial of the Armenian genocide from the government of Turkey even more than 100 years after the events took place.
“This is a danger of not preserving history,” Chattah said.
The museum would be called the Nevada State Holocaust Museum, according to the bill, but Chattah said it will focus on educating people about other genocides as well, such as the estimated 500,000 to 1 million killed in Rwanda in 1994, the Armenian genocide and the current events happening in Syria, with the hope of reminding the younger generation that such tragedies still happen to this day.
In 2017, the state Legislature passed a law that banned governmental agencies in the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel. And in 2015, lawmakers passed a resolution recognizing the state’s “bond of friendship” with Israel.
An amendment to the proposed museum bill, which is expected to be adopted, would call for a two-year feasibility study to examine the museum’s logistics, such as the size of the building and the exact location.