Three local organizations will host the Community-wide Yom HaShoah (Day of Holocaust Remembrance) Commemoration April 11 at 11 a.m. to honor the six million Jews who died.
The 56th annual free event will take place at the Memorial to the Six Million monument at Greenwood Cemetery in southwest Atlanta but will be live-streamed to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s being co-sponsored by Eternal Life-Hemshech, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and the public is invited.
Highlights will include the story of the monument‘s creation and the lighting of its six torches to honor the six million Jews who died. A special in-home candle lighting ceremony will spotlight local Holocaust survivors. Viewers may join in the Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, and light a candle at home.
“On the day of Yom HaShoah, we will remember those who were lost to us, each of us in our own way,” Marc Huppert, chair of the Yom HaShoah planning committee, said in a news release. “Survivors, children of survivors and grandchildren honor the loved ones we knew and those we were never able to meet. We must keep their memories alive within and pass their stories on to future generations. This must never happen again.”
In 1965, a group of Atlanta’s Holocaust survivors and their families saw the need for a physical place both to remember and grieve lost loved ones, and most significantly to say Kaddish. Their organization, Eternal Life-Hemshech, raised funds, secured the site and engaged the late Atlanta architect Benjamin Hirsch (z”l), a Holocaust survivor, to create what is now the Memorial to the Six Million.
The memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. It is composed of four L-shaped walls of varying heights between seven and 13 feet tall. The walls of uncoursed Stone Mountain granite blocks interlock to form a single “interior” space that has no roof and is open to the sky.
Entrances are located on each of the four sides. Hirsch once described the plan for the roughly 50-foot-long by 25-feet-wide memorial as “symbolically inviting people from the four corners of the earth to enter and share in the messages.”
Among the plaques in the interior of the memorial is a bronze one on the south wall below the eternal flame that presents a passage from Exodus in English and Hebrew: “The Bush Burned With Fire And Was Not Consumed.”