Showing posts with label smoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoke. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Holocaust Memorial in Boston, MA

The Holocaust Memorial in Boston, MA.
The six glass towers (photo by Steve Martin)
While on our 35th marriage anniverary trip to Boston Oct. 5-8, 2012, Laurie and I went to the Holocaust Memorial right across the street from the Bell-in-Hand historical tavern, in the heart of Boston. After returning home, I wanted to share this with each of you, along with the more detailed articles I found on the Internet, printed below.
We appreciate the people of Boston having this memorial to the six million Jews murdered in World War II, so that we too can remember.
Steve Martin
From the New England Holocaust Memorial website (

"Look at these towers, passerby, and try to imagine what they really mean - what they symbolize - what they evoke. They evoke an era of incommensurate darkness, an era in history when civilization lost its humanity and humanity its soul . . ."

"We must look at these towers of memory and say to ourselves, No one should ever deprive a human being of his or her right to dignity. No one should ever deprive anyone of his or her right to be a sovereign human being. No one should ever speak again about racial superiority...We cannot give evil another chance." - Elie Wiesel

The New England Holocaust Memorial was built to foster memory of and reflection on one of the great tragedies of our time, the Holocaust (Shoah). The effort was begun by a group of survivors of Nazi concentration camps who have found new homes and new lives in the Boston area. Dedicated in October, 1995, over 3000 individuals and organizations from across the community joined in sponsoring the project.

The Freedom Trail location, in downtown Boston, is near Faneuil Hall and many other treasures of America's history. The site offers a unique opportunity for reflection on the meaning of freedom and oppression and on the importance of a society's respect for human rights.


Floor of one of the towers. Smoke is emitted from the grates.
(Photo by Steve Martin)

The design utilizes uniquely powerful symbols of the Holocaust. The Memorial features six luminous glass towers, each 54 feet high. The towers are lit internally to gleam at night. They are set on a black granite path, each one over a dark chamber which carries the name of one of the principal Nazi death camps. Smoke rises from charred embers at the bottom of these chambers. Six million numbers are etched in glass in an orderly pattern, suggesting the infamous tattooed numbers and ghostly ledgers of the Nazi bureaucracy. Evocative and rich in metaphor, the six towers recall the six main death camps, the six million Jews who died, or a menorah of memorial candles.
Entrance (photo by Steve Martin)
A collaboration of government and non-profit agencies participate in the Memorial's operations. The Boston National Historic Park maintains the site. The Jewish Community Relations Council coordinates programming. The Combined Jewish Philanthropies assists in management issues. Facing History and Ourselves developed a valuable study guide. Survivors of the Holocaust and volunteers serve as educators.

Educational and interpretative assistance and materials are available for groups planning visits to the Memorial. Speakers and tour guides can be scheduled to meet with groups. A study guide, suitable for teachers and youth group leaders, helps prepare young people for trips to the Memorial and is available upon request. Additional resources are available to assist groups wishing to use the Memorial as a forum to present their own programs.

From the Wikipedia website (

The New England Holocaust Memorial is a memorial in Boston, Massachusetts. It is dedicated to the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.


Designed by Stanley Saitowitz and erected in 1995, the memorial consists of six glass towers under which a visitor may walk. Engraved on the outside walls of each tower are groups of numbers representing the six million Jews killed 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.

Glass tower
(Photo by Steve Martin)
Treblinka tower
(Photo by Steve Martin)

Each tower symbolizes a different major extermination camp (Majdanek, Chełmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Bełżec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau), but can also be taken to be menorah candles, the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust (one million per column), and the six years that the mass extermination took place, 1939-1945.

Six million numbers inscribed in the glass
(Photo by Steve Martin)

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.

The New England Holocaust Memorial is located near the Freedom Trail, and is only a few steps off the trail, making it a popular tourist attraction.

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.

The Memorial was targeted for destruction in a 2002 white supremacist terror plot.

Walkway (Photo by Steve Martin)