Italy grants $29 million to enable completion of national Jewish museum

ROME (JTA) – Italy’s national Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah, or MEIS, under fitful development in the northeast city of Ferrara for more than a decade, has received a $29 million government grant in order to enable its completion.

Italian Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini announced the grant Monday as part of a $1.15 billion package of state grants for 33 cultural heritage sites and projects throughout the country.

MEIS was established by federal laws in 2003 and 2006 and has been slowly developed in the building of a former prison in Ferrara. It is due to open with its first major exhibition in a restored part of the building next year.

MEIS will not only be a Holocaust museum, Franceschini told the Italian Jewish information website moked.it.

“It will in fact above all be a place to recount Italian Judaism in all its richness and many facets – its history, its traditions, its multi-millennium presence in this country,” he said. “Culture as a bridge, culture to sweep away any prejudice. To recognize the links between Judaism and the story of Italian cities is in fact the best way to defeat anti-Semites and preachers of hate.”

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