A cantor chanted a Hebrew prayer of mourning, as the afternoon sun beat down on some one hundred people gathered for the dedication of the state’s Holocaust memorial. Local politicians and prominent members of the state’s Jewish community offered remarks on the project. Many highlighted the memorial’s significance in the light of more recent violence and genocide worldwide.
The newly unveiled memorial sits at the edge of Downtown Providence, near statuary dedicated to the two World Wars.
The Holocaust memorial is a sculpture garden which features a winding stone path, engraved with railroad tracks. Organizers say the design evokes the trains that took European Jews, and other citizens marginalized by the Nazis, to concentration camps. Along the path stand six stone pillars, representing the six million people exterminated during the Holocaust. At the end of the path, in the center of the memorial, sits smooth elliptical stone.
The high-tech project includes blue-tooth enabled smartphone apps, which provide visitors with information as they walk through the memorial.
Herb Stern spearheaded the project. He said it took more than a decade to make the memorial a reality.
“It’s the closing of a statement if you will,” said Stern. “It’s something that needed to be done as a matter of course to memorialize those who were lost and honor the survivors still among us.”
Stern estimates there are still about 30 Holocaust survivors living in Rhode Island. The memorial cost an estimated $500,000. The money was raised entirely through private donations.
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