Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial – A must see memorial in Miami
Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial is an ideal place to get a feel of the past. The memorial has been toured by many people visiting Florida. If you are planning to visit this memorial anytime soonest, you will benefit from learning about its history. How did it come about? What were the challenges? How was the dream of the founders became a reality? You will find answers to these questions in this piece.
Background – Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial
What happened to the Jews in the hand of Nazis is a well-known history, but the coming generations may not be aware of the Holocaust. Fittingly then, in 1984, some Holocaust survivors came together with the goal of setting up a permanent memorial in Miami in memory of the over six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. This small group of Holocaust survivors set a committee that was saddled with the responsibility of building the memorial. The committee came to be known as Holocaust Memorial Committee and was registered as a private non-profit organization.
However, what informed the choice of Miami Beach? The committee thought it fit to situate the memorial in Miami Beach because South Florida had the highest populations of Holocaust survivors in the United States. Many of these survivors were also living within the city limits. For those survivors, expectations were high as the committee began to make preparation for the memorial.
But, opposition began to rise as preparations were being made to build the Memorial. Some people did not want the memorial built in the city and they began to protest against it. The opposition from the residents was as a result of differing views of the city’s nature. Some contended that Miami Beach was a place for “sun and fun” and should not be for memorial as it will create a somber mood in this vacation haven.
Some other people argued that the presence of the memorial on city-owned land was a violation of the separation of Church and State. They contended that the memorial was a religious monument. However, this was not true because the Memorial was to be dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust. To this day, it has remained an historical monument.
November 17, 1984, was an unforgettable day in the history of the memorial. Why? Well, it was a day the Miami Beach Planning Board met to vote for approval of the memorial. Over 500 Jews who had survived the Holocaust were present and they made emotional plea for the approval of the memorial. Many related their personal experiences and losses during the Holocaust. Eight days later, the approval came to the joy of the survivors.
The building began – Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial
After approval was granted for the construction of the memorial, the committee went to work. First, it contacted an architect, Kenneth Treister and seeks his help to design the monument. It was a big and challenging project for someone who personally did not witness the Holocaust. Coming up with ideas that appropriately illustrate the suffering and massacre of the Jews during the Holocaust was daunting, to say the least.
The focal point in the design of the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial were sketches showing an outstretched arm, reaching for the skies with many others small human figures clinging to it and to each other. Other drawings that were later attached to the building showed emaciated people reaching out for help plus a naked woman holding onto her baby and a small child crying under a blanket.
The Holocaust Memorial took 4 years to complete and on February 4, 1990, the building was dedicated. Ever since then, the museum has been giving visitors a reliable history and details of events during the Holocaust.
No doubt, the Miami beach Holocaust Memorial is a must see memorial that you would hurt to miss should you visit Miami Beach. With the powerful centerpiece showing victims of the concentration camps stretching up a hand to the sky, you will be able to travel into the past. The Holocaust history is cut in marble slabs and as you walk along the hallway, the photographs and names of the camps and their victims will give you gripping details of the tragedy that befell Jews during World War II.
More pictures of the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach