I take exception to the letter from Marion E. Sittler {July 6}, which concludes that an "Americanization" of the Holocaust, an event "that is not even a part of our history except insofar as we helped to defeat it," does not justify the proposal to build the Holocaust Museum close to the Washington Monument.

The area of our symbolic monuments to the leaders of this free nation is precisely where such a museum belongs. It need not be considered a temple of doom and gloom. It will be a building that will serve to remind future generations that a heinous attempt to deprive human beings of their human rights, their liberties and their very lives must always be a warning to protect freedom and to cherish the rights of all peoples.

This was the message of Thomas Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Such a center of learning, remembrance and respect for all peoples is in keeping with the heart of this nation's role. We are a nation of immigrants. We have welcomed all peoples, and extend our support to peoples all over the world.

We did defeat the Nazi forces that perpetrated the crime against the Jewish people and non-Jewish people too. We cannot stop and just put the event in the history books. We must make an effort to commemorate the final victory of humanity over the forces of evil in an appropriate and American way.

We can be proud of our decision to build such a place of honor. It belongs in the shadow of our shrines of patriotism and freedom. It will be a monument to the spirit of democracy and to the glory of all mankind.


Never have I been compelled to move so quickly for pen and paper as I was after reading Marion E. Sittler's letter.

While there is no doubt, as she writes, that America and Americans played many "heroic roles" in much of World War II, the facts remain, well documented now, that American heroism was not so evident with regard to the Jewish people of Europe.

Boatloads of Jewish refugees escaping Hitler were denied entry into America, despite evidence of their plight in Germany. The American government sent them back to their horrible fates. Additionally, America had knowledge of the death camps well before they were eventually liberated. Despite this, the railroad tracks used to transport the Holocaust victims were not bombed.

Marion Sittler writes: "We are a forward-looking people and our national character is generous and tolerant to a fault." How wonderful that she, a modern-day Pollyanna, is apparently able to forget America's treatment of the Japanese-Americans in World War II, and of the continuing and pervasive racism and anti-Semitism that linger in this country. However, millions cannot and will not forget.

Finally, if the Holocaust taught anything it is that we cannot look forward without looking back lest the same atrocities repeat themselves.

To the survivors of the Holocaust who settled in this country and became Americans, to their families, and to show the country and the world that human nature is possible of evil and that we in this country will not tolerate it, the Holocaust Museum is a needed and important addition to this country. LISA DONIS Arlington