Climaxing a day of prayer for the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime, proclaimed by Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, Madison Square Garden, one of the largest meeting places in the United States, was converted tonight into a house of worship with 40,000 persons participating in a mass-memorial for the millions of Jews massacred by the Nazis in Europe.
The memorial was in the form of a pageant entitled “We Will Never Die.” To accommodate the vast throngs, two presentations were given, marking the first double-rally in the history of the Garden. The arena was dimly lighted and draped in 2,500 yards of black cloth. On stage were two forty-foot tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed thereon. Several large candelabra were suspended from the ceiling and from the ceiling an illuminated Star of David shone as a beacon of hope.
More than a thousand actors, rabbis and cantors led the audiences in the last rites and prayers for the Jews of Europe who were tossed into rivers, on funeral pyres and into common graves. There were no addresses delivered. The pageant was divided into three sections. The first part of the program was devoted to a roll call of the Jewish contributions to civilization from Moses to Einstein. The second dramatized Jewish participation in the armed forces of the United Nations and the third part visualized the forthcoming peace conference with the Jewish dead of Europe crowding around with a list of their experiences and sufferings.
The services were under the auspices of the Committee for a Jewish Army of Palestinian and Stateless Jews. “We Will Never Die” was written by Ben Hecht, based on his story “Remember Us.” Billy Rose was producer and Moss Hart staged the memorial. A special musical score, composed by Kurt Weill, was played by fifty members of the N.B.C. Symphony Orchestra and sung by several hundred members of the Cantors Association of America.
Gov. Dewey’s proclamation stated in part: “I hereby proclaim Tuesday, March 9, as a day to be set aside by the citizens of our state to offer prayers to Almighty God for the Jews who have been brutally massacred.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.