At A Glance
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).
Voices heard in the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO 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
Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is the Association for Public Art’s award-winning audio program for Philadelphia’s outdoor sculpture. Available for free by phone, mobile app, or online, the program features more than 150 voices from all walks of life – artists, educators, civic leaders, historians, and those with personal connections to the artworks.
This artwork is part of the Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway tour