This is really not a very uplifting post, but perhaps it will in some ways help us to remember some of the worst things done to man by other men just because of some religious prejudice. Mrs. LZ and I visited this place while on vacation in Miami, and it was something that not only was I not expecting, but also that was extremely moving to walk through an view. But before I tell you about that, here is a little history about how the Memorial got built in the first place.
In the fall of 1984, a small group of Holocaust survivors formed a committee dedicated to building a permanent memorial to the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Memorial Committee was formally established a year later as a private non-profit organization. Its objective was to organize a permanent committee, locate a potential site, develop ideas for the scope and design of the Memorial, and determine ways and means of financial support for the project.
With full cooperation from the City of Miami Beach Commission, the present site at Meridian Avenue and Dade Blvd. was designated to receive the Memorial. Kenneth Treister, architect and sculptor, was entrusted with interpreting the Holocaust into a structure which would memorialize its victims, serve as solace to its survivors, and also inform with factual representations in pictures and words of this century's greatest human crime.
The Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach was dedicated and opened to the public in February 1990. Since then, the committee is devoted not only to maintaining the memorial, but to developing cultural and educational programs for the community. The committee invites you to join the effort to make a lasting impact on future generations.
The Holocaust Memorial took over four years to be built, reaching its final stage at dedication ceremonies on Sunday February 4, 1990, with Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate as guest speaker.
Visitors to the Memorial will at first be met by a visual sensation of contrasting elements: the brightness of the luminous Jerusalem stone, which represents the basic building material for the Memorial, and the stark, somber black granite, which lines the walls; another contrast is offered by the stillness of water in the reflecting pool with its majestic lily pads of uncommon dimension, and the azure sky reflecting its patterns in the water, almost competing with the somber reminder of the site's purpose - the reflecting shapes provided by the Memorial's sculpture.
Two parts of a semicircular black granite wall provide two important components of the memorial: on the visitor's right begins the journey into the universe of the Holocaust. In the first three panels of the granite wall, I presented a short but concise history of the event, from 1933 through 1945 and followed it up with a chronological pictorial depiction of Holocaust events and experiences, accompanied by textual explanations and maps.
From almost the moment that Mrs. LZ and I walked into this place, there was a sense of both sadness and of peace, almost the same feeling that most people have as they visit the grave of a dear loved one who has parted from us and this world. As I looked at these walls and saw all of the names of all of the people that we are aware were taken in the Holocaust, it is truly hard to believe that people could ever treat other human being in this manner.
This kind of thing can only happen when good people let evil people walk all over OTHERS and then "DO NOTHING". But so it was with Hitler and the Nazis. I am not Jewish, but this was not only about the Jewish people being made a scapegoat for what Hitler thought was wrong with the world and wanted to change it into what he thought was his image of a superior race as he viewed it, but it was really nothing more than pure evil putting itself higher than God and His rules for life. It took a long time before someone stood up to this evil and beat it. But it takes courage and as Winston Churchill said... "Courage is the first virtue, without it, none of the others matter!"
As for evil in the world that was done to the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis, the Jewish people say... "Never Again!"
Mrs. LZ and I are flying off to San Diego, California this week... I'll be reading all of your blogs on our return! "I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me. I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."
~ From the Diary of Anne Frank dated Tuesday, 4 April, 1944