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May 03, 1991 - Image 63

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Then visitors pass through
a dome-shaped walkway, with
a Star of David above, and
walk through a tunnel con-
structed of Jerusalem stone.
On its walls they see the
names of the camps; and as
they walk, they hear a recor-
ding of songs of the Holocaust
— which were sung in the
camps — performed by an
Israeli choir.
Then they are in a circular
area where they see the large
sculpture of the outstretched
and smaller sculptures all
around.
"People are very moved
when they see all this!" says
Iris Tako, another volunteer.
"You don't see barbed wire or
evidence like that. Instead,
it's a very tranquil memorial,
and it was planned that way,

These memorials
are not only
important
reminders of
history, but often
are creative and
imaginative works
of art.

as evidence of a gentle,
beautiful people who were
lost!"
In other cities in the U.S.,
artists have chosen varied
ways to portray that loss. For
example, in downtown Balti-
more, at Gay, Lombard and
Water streets, not far from
the city's popular Inner Har-
bor, is an unusual Holocaust
memorial that is highly ab-
stract in design.
Erected in 1982, the
memorial is in a one acre
park donated by the city.
Here stands a large can-
tilevered slab of concrete.
Behind it is a park with six
rows of slender flowering
trees.
"It's intended to show how
the Holocaust severed the
lives of the Jewish people!' ex-
plains E.B. Hirsh, a past
president of the Jewish
Historical Society of
Maryland, who begins her
tour of Jewish Baltimore with
this memorial.
Not everyone understands
the design right away, Ms.
Hirsch admits as we stand
and look at the large concrete
slab from a distance, as she
has suggested we view it. But
there is no doubt what event
this sculpture symbolizes.
Near it, in large block letters
are the words Holocaust
Memorial.
On another coast, George
Segal's The Holocaust in San
Francisco is far more graphic.
It is situated in Lincoln Park,
so it has a backdrop of velve-

ty grass and tall, leafy
California trees — and this
makes the sight of Segal's
work even more stark by
contrast.
The white sculpture shows
ten emaciated bodies lying on
the - ground, their skeletal
limbs all entwined. A lone
figure of a man stands near
the bodies, his shoulders
slumped and his face staring
blankly out in the distance
beyond the barbed wire fence
which is also part of Mr.
Segal's work.
Dedicated November 7,
1984, it was desecrated four
days later. "Is this
necessary?" vandals wrote,
smearing black paint over the
white sculpted figures. San
Franciscans rallied in anger
and posted a guard nightly at
the memorial. An anonymous
donor started sending fresh
flowers each day.
That tradition continues.
On the day I visited, several
sprigs of red roses were plac-
ed on the prostrate white
bodies.
Nathan Rapoport's sculp-
ture in Philadelphia is not as
graphic as Mr. Segal's. But it,
too, is a striking sight. On the
broad tree-lined boulevard
known as the Parkway, the 18
foot high bronze sculpture,
titled Holocaust, is one large
mass of huddled shapes,
which seem to reach upward.
Dedicted in 1964, and pre-
sented to the city by the
Association of Jewish New
Americans in cooperation
with the Federation of Jewish
Agencies of Philadelphia, this
was the first Holocaust
memorial in the United
States.
On one side of its base, the
names of death camps are et-
ched. And on the other side is
an inscription for this
sculpture which is also a
reminder of the lasting
significance of all Holocaust
memorials.
"Now and forever enshrin-
ed in memory are the six
million Jewish martyrs who
perished in concentration
camps, ghettos and gas
chambers," reads the inscrip-
tion. "In their deepest agony,
they cling to the image of
humanity." ❑

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