The Holocaust Memorial to the Six Million at Greenwood Cemetery is being readied for this year’s Yom HaShoah observance on May 5. The memorial’s restoration is being made possible by generous financial gifts from dozens of local individuals and family foundations to Eternal Life-Hemshech.
After almost 60 years, the Holocaust Memorial is showing its age. To preserve the monument for future generations, restorative work had to be accomplished by a company that works on places of historical significance. Greg Jacobs, of Landmark Preservation, along with other staff, have begun the renovation process.
Scaffolding has been installed for the work that lies ahead. Jacobs commented that all outdoor monuments are subject to weather conditions without protection. His company does not want to over-restore. They want the memorial to remain sound and in good condition.
Pieces of granite have cracked so new mortar will be used to patch areas needing reinforcement. Rusted metal will be replaced with newer weather-resistant material. The six torches had to be redesigned internally to accommodate a new electronic system that will make lighting the torches simpler and safer to accomplish. Metal brackets that were used to affix bronze plaques to the interior walls need repairing and the plaques themselves need polishing. There was a darkened plaque that mentioned an urn with ashes in it. As initial work began on the granite blocks, several had to be removed. As they were removed, a small vessel appeared that contained ashes from the Dachau Concentration Camp.
This memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation was made in 2008, seven years earlier than most historic sites. This acclamation was most unusual because the standards require that places of historic significance must exist for at least 50 years to gain this recognition. The monument met several criteria for being considered; however, its final selection was based on the areas of significant architecture and social history. Nominations recognized by the National Register begin with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The building of this monument to honor and memorialize the Six Million was completed in 1965. Leon Rosen (z”l) was the first chairman of Hemshech (which literally means “continue”) in 1963-64.
Survivor Ben Hirsch (z”l) was the architect who designed the original plan for the Holocaust Memorial. Hirsch came to Atlanta when he was 9 years old and escaped on the Kindertransport, along with four of his oldest brothers, from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to Great Britain. He spoke no English when he arrived in Atlanta in 1941. He attended public schools in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech, having majored in architecture. Over his lifetime he designed synagogues and churches of many different denominations all over greater Atlanta.
The featured speaker at the 2024 Yom HaShoah ceremony will be George Rishfeld, a child survivor from Warsaw, Poland.
- Mike Weinroth
- Holocaust Memorial to the Six Million
- Greenwood Cemetery
- Yom HaShoah
- Eternal Life Hemshech
- Greg Jacobs
- Landmark Preservation
- Dachau Concentration Camp
- National Register of Historic Places
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources
- Leon Rosen
- Ben Hirsch
- Georgia Tech
- George Rishfeld