web analytics
July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Nearly 70 Years After War, Holocaust Memorials Continue To Proliferate

CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

No earth was moved last month at the groundbreaking of one of the nation’s newest Holocaust memorials.

Instead, the gatherers stood silently, symbolic shovels in hand, on the immaculate lawn where the privately funded $400,000 monument will soon rise. A succession of speakers delivered somber homilies remembering one of the darkest chapters in human history.

“It was an absolutely unbelievable world that I lived in,” survivor Fred Lorber was quoted as saying by local media. “It’s hard for me to describe, but whatever time I think about it, it’s there. It never left my memory.”

The construction of a new Holocaust memorial is hardly unusual. But this was Des Moines, Iowa, home to a small Jewish community and an even smaller number of survivors.

Just 2,800 Jews live in the capital of the Hawkeye State, among them a rapidly diminishing number of survivors like Lorber. Yet local authorities, along with the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and Jewish philanthropists, nevertheless felt it important for the city to set aside prominent public space near the state capitol to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and their liberators.

“As time went by and as the last survivors pass away, the study of the Holocaust in the school districts began to wane and the Jewish community felt the memory of it needed to be perpetuated,” said Mark Finkelstein, the head of the federation.

The Jews of Des Moines are hardly the first to push for such a project.

Though precise numbers are difficult to come by, Holocaust studies experts say museums and monuments dedicated to the genocide have proliferated across the United States over the past two decades.

Major American cities typically have at least one Holocaust memorial, but now many midsized ones do too, like Richmond, Va., Charleston, S.C., and El Paso, Texas. Memorials are even found in relatively small cities, like Whitwell, Tenn., and Palm Desert, Calif. And more are in the works, including a recently approved monument designed by architect Daniel Libeskind to be built on the statehouse grounds in Columbus, Ohio.

The phenomenon is also not a uniquely American one. Norway, a country with only 1,300 Jews, has two Holocaust memorials.

“There are probably more than three hundred Holocaust study centers and museums around the country, and the number of memorials would be hard to track down because of all the small ones,” said James Young, a professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the author of a book about Holocaust remembrance.

“Just in Manhattan, there are eighty. Multiply that and you probably have thousands.”

Young says the single most important factor driving the construction of Holocaust memorials nearly seventy years after the war is the initiative of elderly survivors. With the youngest of them nearing 80, survivors are eager to educate future generations about their suffering and, in so doing, give meaning to their lives.

“It doesn’t take a big community,” Young said. “If someone is inspired to build a memorial site, it is possible to do so.”

One such person was Eva Mozes Kor, 79, who along with her twin sister was subjected to savage medical experiments carried out by Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele.

In 1995, Kor founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, a small city in western Indiana where she has lived since the 1950s, with the aim of sharing her story with her neighbors.

Each year about 75,000 mostly non-Jewish children visit the center from nearby rural areas of western and central Indiana. Kor and two other survivors, including her husband, present lectures to the young visitors.

“I want to teach children in the world,” she said. “I think [the Holocaust] is not a Christian thing, not a Jewish thing, it’s a human thing.”

For Jewish leaders, Holocaust memorializing is often a way to build community around a non-religious issue.

“The creation of a Holocaust memorial is likely something everybody can cooperate on,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish studies at Brandeis University.

“The minute you touch Israel, it’s divisive. But for Jews and Christians to get together to commemorate the Holocaust, that can bring them together, especially in smaller communities.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

2 Responses to “Nearly 70 Years After War, Holocaust Memorials Continue To Proliferate”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    Germany this year, finally created a Porajmos Memorial in Berlin for the Roma and Sinti people.

  2. Beau Howard says:

    More jew worship from the treasonous "shabbos goy".

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
IDF map of Gaza City launcher sites centered among high schools.
Israeli Cabinet Cowed Back Into ‘Tit-for-Tat’ by Obama?
Latest News Stories
IDF soldiers on the Gaza front received cell phone power banks as part of a Tzohar initiative in time to call their families before Shabbat.

Tzohar enabled IDF soldiers on the Gaza front to charge their cell phones in time to call home and say ‘Shabbat Shalom.’

IDF map of Gaza City launcher sites centered among high schools.

Is the Obama White House strong-arming Israel’s cabinet back into the ‘tit-for-tat’ defense policy of the past two years?

Eight vehicles in the southern Israeli community of Lehavim are painted with swastikas.

IDF soldier wounded during a firefight in Beit Hanoun this morning that took place during an unofficial ‘humanitarian cease fire’ requested by the US.

9:58pm The IDF has adopted the “quiet will be met with quiet” operational directive and is only reacting to pinpoint Hamas rocket fire. When Hamas fired a few rockets earlier today the IDF fired at the area the rocket were launched from (Bet Lahiya, Gaza) The government security cabinet is meeting to decide whether to […]

The Obama administration casts Hamas in the light of a legitimate organization, not the terror group it is listed as by the US itself.

MK Ze’ev Elkin had harsh words for the US’s push for negotiations with Hamas.

Yeshoron Tzoran is the officer who stopped the Arab terrorist near Beitar Ilit who was driving a massive car bomb to his target. Tzoran’s quick thinking and action saved hundreds of lives.

The IDF blew up two more tunnels in the course of the last 24 hours. “The longer we stay on the ground, the more we learn about the extent of the tunnels and the route they were built in.”

The IDF retaliated Monday morning for rocket fire aimed at Ashkelon after hours of quiet on the front.

Calling for a global recitation of the Shema at 12:00 noon EST, 7:00 a.m. PST, 7:00 p.m. in Israel.

The UN Security Council wants a cease fire now. The focus is on the safety of Gaza civilians, but not Israel’s security.

The IDF claims from their investigation and released video of the shell that hit the UNRWA school that they did not kill the 16 people.

If anti-Israel doesn’t necessarily mean anti-Israel-Semitic, why do anti-Israel protests always seem to be so violent?

Make up your mind: PA Chairman can’t decide whether Palestinians are sovereign state or feeble protectorate

Thinking her microphone’s been turned off, UN translator speaks her mind about world body’s anti-Israel obsession.

More Articles from Gil Shefler
CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

No earth was moved last month at the groundbreaking of one of the nation’s newest Holocaust memorials.

Cellular phones began ringing ominously at Congregation Shaar Hashalom in Houston on Sunday afternoon as the bad news quickly spread among a group gathered for a synagogue meeting.

Cellular phones began ringing ominously at Congregation Shaar Hashalom in Houston on Sunday afternoon as the bad news quickly spread among a group gathered for a synagogue meeting.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/holocaust/nearly-70-years-after-war-holocaust-memorials-continue-to-proliferate/2013/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: