5. The Hidden Meaning of the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s 6 Sides

Museum of Jewish Heritage
Credit: David Paler / Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City serves as a living memorial to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Designed as a six-sided building with a pyramidal roof, this shape represents the six million Jewish lives lost. The $21.5 million museum was built between 1994 and 1997, though plans for the museum go back decades. Jewish groups proposed the creation of a museum shortly after the end of the Holocaust, and there were even efforts by President Jimmy Carter to put the National Holocaust Memorial in New York City.

Ultimately, the museum was slated for the U.S. Custom House, though it was relocated to Battery Park City nearly a decade before its construction. The museum merged with Brooklyn’s Center for Holocaust Studies and was fully completed in 1997, with an additional wing named for lawyer Robert Morgenthau. Over the years, the museum has put on a core exhibition including the sections Jewish Life A Century Ago, The War Against the Jews, and Jewish Renewal, installations such as a Holocaust-era train car and a stone garden, and an exhibition showcasing Holocaust-era art.