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Yad Vashem - Remember the Children

Yad Vashem - Remember the Children Civil Rights Disasters Tragedies and Triumphs World History World War II Ethics

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, has a very moving memorial to around 1.5 million children lost to the Holocaust during World War II.  This image depicts the scene of the Children's Memorial.

In addition to viewing this scene, of candles commemorating the loss of so many children, visitors to the museum hear the names, and ages, of each child who died in the Holocaust.  Their names—and the names of their countries—are repeated during all hours that the museum is open to the public.

How did this memorial come about?

Abe and Edita Spiegel, who were originally from Ukraine, were imprisoned at Auschwitz where they lost their 2½ -year-old son, Uziel. He, like so many others, was murdered at the infamous Nazi concentration camp.

The Spiegels, who survived the war and moved to America, wanted to honor their lost son—together with the sons and daughters of so many other parents—so they donated the funds to build Moshe Safdie’s architectural plan for this Children’s Memorial.

The memorial itself is hollowed-out from an underground cavern. Dark inside, the cavern allows visitors to see so many candles—representing around 1.5 million lost children—as they shine like stars in the firmament.

Who were these 1.5 million children? The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum tells us more about who they were and where they were from:

The Germans and their collaborators killed as many as 1.5 million children, including over a million Jewish children and tens of thousands of Romani (Gypsy) children, German children with physical and mental disabilities living in institutions, Polish children, and children residing in the occupied Soviet Union.

Some Jewish and some non-Jewish adolescents (13-18 years old) had a greater chance of survival, as they could be used for forced labor.

The Children's Memorial is a deeply moving place which causes visitors to pause as they reflect on how many young children were killed during the Holocaust.

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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