Expanded Holocaust memorial plaza dedicated in Philadelphia


(JTA) — An expansion of Philadelphia’s Holocaust Memorial Plaza, the first public memorial to the genocide in the United States, was dedicated.

The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza adds to the public plaza surrounding the Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs dedicated in 1964.

The plaza features six pillars erected in memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, with each pillar chronicling a Holocaust atrocity and contrasting it with American constitutional protections and values. Original train tracks from the railroad adjacent to the Treblinka death camp are embedded in the pavement near the “Theresienstadt tree,” a sapling of the tree nurtured by children in the Czech camp though they knew they would not live long enough to see it grow and mature. At the far western portion of the plaza, a tree grove represents the woodlands that sheltered members of the resistance movement.

In partnership with the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, the plaza features educational, multimedia content via IWalk, a USC Shoah Foundation-developed mobile app that connects specific locations at the plaza with personal testimonials of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. The app also includes access to eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust from more than 50,000 survivors. It is available in English and Spanish, and provides users with an age-appropriate, customized experience.

“This unique memorial in Philadelphia is a stark reminder to never forget,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday at the dedication ceremony. “It will serve as an important place of remembrance and reflection.”

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