Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Holocaust Memorial

There is one other place that we visited in Miami, but I felt like it needed it's own post because it isn't as happy and sunshine-y as the rest of the trip. This is the Holocaust Memorial that is located by the Miami Botanical Gardens and the Convention Center. If you are interested in reading how and why this Memorial came about and to see better pictures, please click Here- Holocaust Memorial. -especially the About and The Creation sections. That site is really quite interesting- it shows some of the sculptures up close and explains the design and everything. Really good.

I saw some signs for it and was curious, so the day we had rented a scooter, we went to check it out.

It is hard to describe exactly how the memorial works, but there are a series of circle-like tunnels that lead you from place to place. It starts with pictures and a history of the Holocaust down one of the circle-hallway-tunnels. Maps with numbers of how many Jews were killed from different countries, photos of the prisoners, timelines, and so forth. By this point I was already in tears. On the ceiling of one of the circle-tunnel things it had the names of all the prisoner camps. I recognized a few of the names, but was surprised that there were so many. That tunnel led us to the tall hand structure that is reaching toward the sky. The first picture shows the sculpture of a little child reaching out to you in agony, right as you enter this part of the memorial. Very haunting.
All the way up the arm, there are hoards of emaciated people, climbing over each other, sick looking, lifting babies and children, all of them looking for any way out. Screaming for help. Trying to escape the despair. It was heart wrenching.
The walls that encircle these figures are filled with thousands, millions, so many names of the victims of the Holocaust. It has the same effect as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC. It makes you realize as you place your fingers across the names, that every single one of those victims was a single person. A member of a family. A member of a community. Someone who was important to other people. An innocent life taken simply because they were a Jew.

I can't comprehend how something like the Holocaust happened. It seems so impossible and so ridiculous. Although I know that innocent people all over the world are still brutally killed and mistreated because of their religion, race, ethnicity, etc. It just makes my heart hurt.
Here is a different angle. There was a pool surrounding the memorial.
There were also a few quotes by Anne Frank on the walls of part of the memorial.

This is the one that was on the wall right before the exit- "Ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered."

That is just a partial quote from Anne Frank's diary- here is the full quote-
"That's the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered. It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

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