The Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach was built in 1984 by a group of Holocaust survivors in Miami and is an impressive experience. Miami Beach is a perfect location for the memorial, as many Holocaust survivors live in South Florida. Prior to construction, there were objections from some who believed Miami Beach was a symbol of fun and a Holocaust memorial would put a damper on that image.
However, after the survivors’ group made their case, the memorial was eventually approved. The Holocaust Memorial is a solemn reminder of the crimes against humanity, as the sculpture of love and pain (the focal point of the site) can be a heartbreaking reminder of the past. The thousands of victims’ names etched into the luminous black granite wall are some of the most emotional readings visitors will ever experience.
The design of the Holocaust Memorial was the vision of sculptor and designer Kenneth Treister, who conveyed the unimaginable tragedy with grace and artistic vision. An outstretched hand rises from the water with hundreds of sculptures clinging to it. Emaciated figures, horrified faces, crying children, and all manner of human shapes and sizes.
The breathtaking hand and individual bronze statues were created also by Kenneth Treister, who asks visitors to see individual faces and situations that we can easily recognize and in which we can see humanity in its deepest form – how could we not see and emotionally feel that.
To get to the hand, the visitor must walk around the pergola and enter this tunnel to get to the island where the hand is located. When you go down through the stone tunnel, you have this ethereal feeling when you arrive at the island. In between there are narrow gaps through which you can see the pergola and the water garden from the outside.
The Holocaust Memorial, located next to the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and just steps from the Miami Beach Convention Center, is probably one of the most impressive and haunting Jewish Holocaust memorials you will ever visit in the world. It is truly worth a visit if you are in the area.