Construction is underway on a new Holocaust & Humanity Center inside the Cincinnati Museum Center.
A portion of the center looks onto the rail yard behind Union Terminal. For Executive Director Sarah Weiss, that's important.
"Trains are a reminder, a painful reminder, of this chapter of Holocaust history," she says. "However, we can tell the story of trains to freedom, and that's what this location represents to the hundreds of survivors who arrived in Cincinnati via Union Terminal."
Steve Boymel's parents were two of those survivors. He and his family landed in New York City on May 4, 1949 and boarded a train for Cincinnati.
"We walked through the terminal and that was the beginning of their brand new life in the United States and in Cincinnati," he says. "It's fitting these many years later that the Holocaust museum end up being in residence here for the benefit of all the generations to follow because this is going to be a lasting tribute to the horrors of the Holocaust."
Boymel now serves on the center's Board of Trustees.
The center's 12,000-square-foot space located in the Museum Center's mezzanine and lower levels is more than double its current space. Attendance is projected to grow from less than 20,000 visitors per year to 100,000.
The Holocaust & Humanity Center is working to raise the $15 million needed for constructing the new space. It says the archives at its current location are overfilled and it has to hold many programs off site.
Capitol campaign committee and past chairman of the Cincinnati Museum Center's board, George Vincent, says the center's new location will give it more power to influence and educate people about Cincinnati's connection to Holocaust survivors.
"We need to celebrate the survivors that made Cincinnati their home, and this gives us a chance to do that and to tell their unique stories in a way that future generations can embrace and remember."
An artist rendering of the new Holocaust & Humanity Center at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Courtesy of Holocaust & Humanity Center