Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs (1964)

by Nathan Rapoport (1911 - 1987)

Photo Caption: Photo James Abbott for the Association for Public Art
16th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
1964

  • Title

    Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs

  • Artist

    Nathan Rapoport (1911 - 1987)

  • Year

    1964

  • Medium

    Bronze, on black granite base

  • Dimensions

    Height 18′, width 6', depth 6' (base height 4’4 1/2″, width 7'6", depth 7')

Gift of the Association of Jewish New Americans to the City of Philadelphia

Owned by the City of Philadelphia


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At A Glance

  • Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program

  • An impassioned memorial to the victims of the Holocaust

  • Commissioned by the Association of Jewish New Americans, a group of several hundred families, many of whom had fled Europe in the wake of Hitler’s destruction

  • Dedicated at a solemn ceremony on April 26, 1964

In the flames of a burning bush, an anguished or dying mother reclines, and above her a wailing child throws out its arms. A man raises his hands in prayer, while another pair of hands holds the Torah scrolls. Near the top, fists clutch daggers, symbols of resistance. At the apex the flames become the blazing candles of a menorah.

This impassioned memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was commissioned by the Association of Jewish New Americans, a group of several hundred families, many of whom had fled Europe in the wake of Hitler’s destruction. The group donated the monument to the city in 1964, in conjunction with the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia.

The monument was dedicated at a solemn ceremony on April 26, 1964. Although its theme is tragic and terrifying, the work conveys a sense of spiritual redemption, as indicated by the symbol of the burning bush through which God appears to Moses in Exodus 3:2: “behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs by artist Nathan Rapoport
Photo Alec Rogers © 2016 for the Association for Public Art

 

RESOURCES:

Museum Without Walls logo: a program of the Association for Public Art

 

Voices heard in the program:

Edward “Eddie” Gastfriend is a Holocaust survivor and chaired the monument committee.

Nina Wolmark is sculptor Nathan Rapoport’s daughter who lives in Normandy, France.

James E. Young is the author of At Memory’s Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art.

Segment Producer: Amanda Aronczyk

Music on Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs
“Zog nit keyn mol!”
Written by: Hirsh Glick
Performed by: Martha Rock Birnbaum, mezzo soprano
Album: Timeless Jewish Songs (Shirim La’ad)
Courtesy: Leyerle Publications (http://www.leyerlepublications.com)

A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.

User calls Museum Without Walls Audio for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, audio download, or on the web – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.

Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation. Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.

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This artwork is part of the Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway tour

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