web analytics
August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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.

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.

Current Top Story
Survivors in Auschwitz.
Auschwitz Provides Tourists with Outdoor Showers to ‘Cool Down’
Latest News Stories

Jerusalem Arabs on Monday returned to their masochistic hobby of throwing rocks at the Jerusalem Light Rail trains that passes though the Arab Shuafat neighborhood. Wibndwos were shattered, but there were no injuries. If one tries to understand the reasoning for Arabs trying to disable the trains that serve the Arab population, the conclusion must […]

President Rivlin receives foreign ambassadors at pre-Rosh HaShanah reception.

“It cannot be that in one moment of diplomacy, the reality is changed so completely.”

Survivors in Auschwitz.

The management of the former death camp says there was no intention to remind people of the gas “showers.”

Picture of soldier wounded by rock-throwing rioter, but later omitted from a video showing soldiers arresting him.

PM Netanyahu says he will beef up security in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria due to rising Arab violence.

ISIS destroys a new, majestic part of the Syrian UNESCO World Heritage site, Palmyra.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has made an exciting announcement: A 2,000-year-old podium may have been found in the City of David section of the Old City of Jerusalem. A unique stepped structure exposed on the street ascending from the ‘Siloam Pool’ to the Temple Mount is raising questions among the researchers at IAA. The […]

The first official Turkish delegation to Israel in five years arrives to discuss a development project in Jenin.

Brooklyn politicians and community leaders called on Cong. members to vote down the Nuclear Iran deal.

Both Carson and Trump are solidly behind Israel, but their real drawing card is that they are not politicians.

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley announced he is backing the nuclear deal, leaving Obama only three shy of a veto-proof majority.

The gas field is far larger than those discovered off Israel’s coast and will supply Egypt with gas for decades.

Israel’s Elbit Systems has racked up two more sales, this time by its cyber security subsidiary Cyberbit to a European police force and an African enforcement agency. Elbit, listed on NASDAQ, did not disclose the amount of the sales. It set up the Cyberbit subsidiary earlier this year to include the cyber and intelligence divisions […]

The regime’s Fars [Read “Farce”] News Agency reported that three Israelis and Jordanians were killed.

Jaffa port is a nice little port with a pleasant promenade to walk around on.

Barenboim rejected from Iran because he’s a “Zionist”. The irony is overwhelming.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, allegedly blocked a DNC resolution supporting the Iran Deal.

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.

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: