New England Holocaust Memorial

Coordinates: 42°21′40″N 71°03′26″W / 42.36125°N 71.05727°W / 42.36125; -71.05727

The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts, is dedicated to the Jewish people who were murdered by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

New England Holocaust Memorial
2017 New England Holocaust Memorial from west.jpg
The memorial as seen from the Boston City Hall Plaza stairs (2017)
General information
Address98 Union St
Town or cityBoston, Massachusetts
InauguratedOctober 22, 1995[2]
Height16.5 m (54 ft)[1]
Design and construction
ArchitectStanley Saitowitz[3]

DescriptionEdit

 
The memorial at grade level

Founded by Stephan Ross, a Holocaust survivor, and erected in 1995, the memorial consists of six glass towers under which visitors may walk. Engraved on the outside walls of each tower are groups of numbers representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Inscribed on the inner walls are quotes from survivors of each camp. Underneath the towers, steam rises up through metal grates from a dark floor with twinkling lights on it.[4]

 
Panel of Memorial

Each tower symbolizes a different major extermination camp (Majdanek, Chełmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Bełżec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau), as well as menorah candles, the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust (one million per tower), and the six years that the mass extermination took place, 1939-1945.[5] Each tower consists of twenty-four individual panels of glass. Twenty-two of the panels are inscribed with seven digit numbers and two of the panels are inscribed with messages. In total, there are 132 panels from the six towers inscribed with numbers; however, each panel is identical. A single panel contains 17,280 unique numbers which are subsequently repeated throughout the memorial. Numbers are arranged in eight by ten blocks, with each block consisting of sets of six numbers arranged in a six by six grid. In total there are 2,280,960 non-unique numbers listed on the 132 panels. A digital tour, which explains some holocaust history and meaning behind the monument, is available through QR codes as of July 2021.[6]

The New England Holocaust Memorial is located a few steps off the Freedom Trail, making it a popular tourist attraction.[7]

The site is maintained by the Boston National Historic Park and is located in Carmen Park, along Congress and Union Streets, near Faneuil Hall. Carmen Park was named in recognition of William Carmen's service to the community and his vision and leadership in creating the New England Holocaust Memorial.[4]

MessagesEdit

 
Engraving of the poem First They Came...

On some of the panels of the glass towers are messages, for instance the Sobibor tower includes the following:

FROM OUR BARRACKS we could see
the gas chambers.
A heart-rending cry of women and
children reached us there.
We were overcome
by a feeling of helplessness.
There we were, watching and
unable to do anything.

WE HAD ALREADY worked out
a plan of escape.
But at that moment I decided —
We must not simply escape.
We must destroy the fascists and the camp.
Alexander Pechersky

New England Holocaust Memorial

ILSE, A CHILDHOOD FRIEND of mine,
once found a raspberry in the camp
and carried it in her pocket all day
to present to me that night on a leaf.

IMAGINE A WORLD in which
your entire possession is
one raspberry and
you gave it to your friend.
Gerda Weissmann Klein

New England Holocaust Memorial

Threats and vandalismEdit

 
The June 2017 vandalism of the New England Holocaust Memorial.

The Boston memorial as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., was targeted for destruction in a 2002 white supremacist terror plot by a neo-Nazi and his white supremacist girlfriend.[8] In the 2002 federal trial, the jury convicted both defendants on all counts.[9]

In the early morning hours of June 28, 2017, one of the 9-foot (2.7 m) glass panels on the memorial was smashed with a rock. The 21-year-old suspect was charged with malicious destruction of property and destruction of a place of memorial. The suspect was denied bail due to violations of probation. The lawyer for the suspect said he suffers from mental health issues.[10][11]

On August 14, 2017, the memorial was damaged for the second time in two months by a 17-year-old who threw a rock at one of the glass panels. The suspect was quickly accosted and restrained by a Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent and Boston firefighter, both of whom were off duty, until Boston police could take the suspect into custody.[12] Initial charges of willful destruction of property were quickly filed, and the incident is under investigation as a possible hate crime.[13]

On March 22, 2021, members of the Nationalist Social Club photographed themselves in front of the memorial and posted it to social media. This was viewed by many American Jews as a provocation.[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Design of the Memorial | New England Holocaust Memorial". 11 March 2013.
  2. ^ "History | New England Holocaust Memorial". 11 March 2013.
  3. ^ "About the Architect | New England Holocaust Memorial". 11 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Introduction Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine. - New England Holocaust Memorial
  5. ^ "New England Holocaust Memorial". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  6. ^ Markos • •, Mary. "New England Holocaust Memorial Unveils New Features at 'Critical Time'". NBC Boston. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  7. ^ Boston: Museum/Attraction Review: The New England Holocaust Memorial. - Frommers.com
  8. ^ Staff Writer (2002-07-16). "Boston Couple Plotted Blasts to Incite Race War, Prosecutor Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  9. ^ "UNITED STATES v. FELTON". FindLaw. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  10. ^ Warren, Victoria (2017-06-28). "Arrest made in connection with vandalism at New England Holocaust Memorial". WHDH (TV). Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  11. ^ Staff Writer (2017-06-28). "The Latest: Suspected Holocaust memorial vandal held on bail". The Sentinel Newspaper. Associated Press.
  12. ^ "Firefighter, DEA agent tackled alleged Holocaust Memorial vandal - the Boston Globe". The Boston Globe.
  13. ^ Vaccaro, Adam; Ortiz, Aimee; Karasin, Reena (2017-08-14). "Boston's Holocaust memorial damaged for second time this summer". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  14. ^ "'Disgusting and despicable': Neo-Nazi group gathers in front of New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston". Boston Herald. 2021-05-25. Retrieved 2021-10-17.

External linksEdit