IN THE SHADOW OF THEIR ABSENCE
Artists: Michael Berkowicz and Bonnie Srolovitz
This Memorial is about the impact of the Holocaust on current and future generations. Its purpose is to ensure that civilized society carries the knowledge and memory of the suffering and pain that hatred causes when humans are targeted for their color, race or creed. This knowledge is a weapon in the struggle of good against evil, and acts as a moral compass to guide future generations to prevent unspeakable evil from happening again. It is intended to be relevant, meaningful and universal.
Here, we honor the victims, the survivors and those who refused to stand idly by while their neighbors were condemned to death. Here, we commemorate the Holocaust - the systematic murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. These murders created a tremendous void - an absence of those who were part of our people and our families and generations never born - fathers, mothers, sons and daughters - who might have been leaders and scholars, artists and businessmen, people whose potential was never realized and never will be.
This curved piece of weathering steel changes with time. It is a page torn from history, part of the holy Jewish Torah; it is a smoke stack of a crematorium through which the ashes rose. The top edge is torn, representing the kri’ah, the Jewish tradition of tearing one’s garment, anact that manifests the anguish felt at the loss of life, urging us to always remember.
We live in the shadow of their absence.
Another part of the San Juan Holocaust Memorial Plaza is the Path of the Righteous which honors individuals who, at great risk to themselves and their families, made the effort to save Jews during the Holocaust. These righteous people set an example to us all by showing how, in the face of injustice, each of us can choose to take a moral stand and make a difference.