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Gratitude Owed to Departing Founder


From the ashes of the greatest tragedy in world history — the murder of six million innocent human beings of all ages — arose the phoenix of great museums, scholarly books, journals, films and university departments on the Holocaust. Jews have always had a way of transforming tragedies into study and creativity.

As I recall from years ago, out of a couple of old boxes on the second floor of the Temple Beth El religious school building, Jay Ipson and a couple of his friends created one of the finest museums on the Holocaust in the world: the Virginia Holocaust Museum.

Many people were eventually involved, generous sums of money were raised, state officials cooperated admirably and magnanimously. But none of it would have happened without the vision, tenacity, dedication, and energies of Jay Ipson. The entire state, even the nation, owes him a debt of profound gratitude. I am deeply thankful that he came into our lives out of the ashes of his own youth, having been a very young fugitive himself from Nazi sadism, to give us the phoenix of the museum. But I am deeply grieved that he was not allowed to remain in his position of leadership, influence and continued creativity.

Jack D. Spiro

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