Statehouse Holocaust Memorial Takes Shape

The $2.3 million project, paid for with private funds and constructed with $300,000 worth of taxpayer funded work on the site, is set to be dedicated in what’s planned to be a large and elaborate ceremony on June 2.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)
The $2.3 million project, paid for with private funds and constructed with $300,000 worth of taxpayer funded work on the site, is set to be dedicated in what’s planned to be a large and elaborate ceremony on June 2.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)

The first new memorial in decades on the Statehouse grounds is just a few weeks away from being completed.

Workers are sanding and drilling grayish white stones in a pit on the south lawn of the Statehouse, in the shadow of two big metal structures that look like ladders.

But right now, the Holocaust and Liberators Memorial doesn’t look much like the artist’s rendering that’s posted on the fence surrounding it.

However, Joyce Garver Keller with Ohio Jewish Communities says it’ll soon take shape.

The stone is there, and soon 18-foot tall bronze panels that will be assembled to form a cutout of a split Star of David on those metal ladders will arrive.

“That work was done off site and that will be brought in and placed on the memorial site, and the stonework, which was quarried outside of Cleveland – and so everything should be in place for the dedication,” Garver says.

Garver Keller says this technically will be the second holocaust memorial at a statehouse – there’s one on the grounds of the capital in Ames, Iowa.

But she says this memorial is unique because it honors not just those who lost their lives but those who saved lives – as noted by the phrase from the Jewish text the Talmud that’s carved into the stone, “If you save one life, it is as if you saved the world.”

“Seeing that I think will give people pause. They’ll think about it. It may bring discussion together in terms of a work of art. Art should provoke conversation and thought, and I think that this piece will do that in a very positive way.”

And Garver Keller says she thinks it will also draw attention and study to the Statehouse’s other memorials and statues. Bad weather this winter had delayed construction of the memorial.

But the $2.3 million project, paid for with private funds and constructed with $300,000 worth of taxpayer funded work on the site, is set to be dedicated in what’s planned to be a large and elaborate ceremony on June 2.

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