Benjamin Forgey, in his article on the Holocaust Memorial Museum {June 20} writes that Gerda Bikales, who identified herself as a Holocaust survivor, said that the proposal was "conceptually flawed. . . . The Holocaust experience is not central to the American national experience {and} is not translatable into concrete structures of brick and stone."

I deeply agree with her. The Holocaust is not a part of the American national experience nor of our character as a people. Such a temple of doom and gloom does not belong in one of the nation's most honored locations. I am opposed to the erection of such a building in this beautiful city.

Mr. Forgey gets to the heart of the matter in a May 23 article when he writes:

"Congress, when it donated the land, seems to have had no reservations about placing such an institution so close to the Washington Monument -- the nation's symbolic centerpiece and the heart of the great urban composition stretching from the Capitol on its hill to the Lincoln Memorial and from there, on a diagonal, to Arlington National Cemetery. But the symbolic implication of this placement -- that the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews is an integral part of the American story -- remains unsettling."

Unsettling it is indeed.

We are an optimistic, forward-looking people, and our national character is generous and tolerant to a fault. We should not be saddled with this terrible tribute to Europe's ancient hatreds and to Germany's cruel and tragic past. I do not need such a memorial to reinforce my natural abhorrence of the awful works of Nazism. Nor, I would wager, do most Americans.

America played a heroic role in World War II. Without our own blood to tip the scales, the resolution of that conflict would have been very different. We made a massive effort to break the Nazi yoke, although we had never felt it ourselves and were not responsible for its origin. If the Holocaust victims want to build a memorial to the American dead who gave their lives to free them, well and good. But the shoe here does not fit the other foot.

Michael Berenbaum, former deputy director of the Holocaust Commission, says that building this museum means survivors "have to take an experience that was theirs and allow it to be presented to an American audience. It involved literally the Americanization of the Holocaust" {April, 29}. I think it is outrageous to attempt an "Americanization" of an event so alien to us as a people, one that is not even a part of our history except insofar as we helped to defeat it.

MARION E. SITTLER

Washington