Holocaust memorials

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There are many memorials around the world to commemorate the Holocaust and remember the victims.

This section will be a slide show of memorials complete with explanations.

Click on the thmbnails to view the pictures of the memorials. As you move through the pictures you will be able to read a detailed explanation below each one.

The memorial to the Jews of the Podgorze Ghetto in Krakow was inaugurated on 8 December 2005. It includes 33 steel and cast iron chairs (1.4 m high) in the ghetto square and 37 smaller chairs (1.2 m high) standing on the edge of the square and at the tram stops.

The memorial takes in the bus and tram stops that are used by locals awaiting transport. This suggests that anyone can be a victim.

There is also a small building in the square that was used by Nazi authorities during the occupation and ghetto period. The inscription on top reads “1941-1943, the years of the ghetto”. The interior of the building has been reworked to resemble the interior of a deportation railway wagon.

The inscription on the memorial reads:

“Graves of the fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising built from the rubble of Mila Street, one of the liveliest streets of pre-war Jewish Warsaw. These ruins of the bunker at 18 Mila Street are the place of rest of the commanders and fighters of the Jewish combat organization as well as some civilians. Among them lies Mordechaj Anielewicz the commander in chief. On May 8th 1943, surrounded by the Nazis after three weeks of struggle, many perished or took their own lives refusing to perish at the hands of their enemies. There were several hundred bunkers built in the ghetto. Found and destroyed by the Nazis they became graves. They could save those who sought refuge inside them yet they remain everlasting symbols of the Jews’ will to live. The bunker in Mila Street was the largest in the ghetto. It is the place of rest of over 100 fighters, only some of whom are known by name. Here they rest, buried where they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.”

The Bebelplatz is known as the site of the infamous Nazi book burning ceremony. On May 10 1933, the first of the book burnings was carried out outside the University of Berlin, with university students leading the parade. Dr Joseph Goebbels began by throwing the works of Sigmund Freud into the flames. All books which, in any way, contradicted Nazi ideas were banned or destroyed.

The Bebelplatz memorial consists of a glass plate set into the cobbles, giving a view of empty bookcases. Therein are engraved the words of Heinrich Heine, stating "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen". In English this reads: "Where they burn books, they ultimately burn people". Students at Humboldt University hold a book sale in the square every year to mark the anniversary of the events of 10 May 1933.

Stolpersteine - Stumbling Blocks

The so-called 'Stumbling Blocks' are part of a project of the Cologne based artist Gunter Demnig, who was born in Berlin in 1947.

The project consists of pavement memorials, remembering victims of the Nazi Regime, on the pavement outside their last “Residence of choice”. Over 20,000 of the commemorative blocks have been laid in towns and cities in Germany and many other countries across Europe.

'Trains to life, trains to death' was designed by artist and kindertransportee Frank Meisler. The sculpture depicts children about to board a train as part of the ‘Kindertransport’. Many of those children never saw their parents again.

The memorial stands outside Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse railway station, from which the first emergency transports of Jewish children from Germany and Austria departed for England on 1 December 1938. The transports stopped with the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.

Meisler’s sculpture has a counterpart outside Liverpool Street Station, which is where he arrived at the end of August 1939.

The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It covers a 19,000 square meter site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’ arranged in a grid pattern.

The stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere. The whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. An attached underground ‘Place of Information’ holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.