A chilling holocaust memorial at Madison Square

For such a stark yet provocative memorial, it’s easy to miss.

Appellatecourt25thstreetwikiBut if you head to 25th Street and Madison Avenue, on the facade of the circa-1900 marble Appellate Division Courthouse facing Madison Square Park, you’ll see it at eye level: a bas relief of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

It’s a grim and affecting aerial view of the camp. Buildings are arranged inside a high walls. “Torture Chamber” and “Commandant’s House” are inscribed beside two separate structures.

 “Execution Wall” and “Gas Chamber and Crematorium I” are chillingly noted as well.

Holocaustmemorialaerialview

A small plaque next to it lets us know that this is a “Memorial to All Victims of the Holocaust,” completed in 1990 by Harriet Feigenbaum, who used a photo as her guide.

Holocaustmemorial25thstreet“Feigenbaum’s choice of source material is used to question the moral character of the Allies, who, by the taking the photo itself, exhibit their awareness of the camp existence, and their simultaneous indifference to addressing that very existence,” wrote Nasha Virita at Untapped Cities.

“By doing so, she demonstrates the terrors that arise when law and justice are left by the wayside.”

The smokestack-like column that tops the memorial mimics the columns of the rest of the building. Note the flames carved on the side, above the words “indifference to justice is the gate to hell.”

New York’s postwar-planned Holocaust memorial in Riverside Park remains unbuilt.

[Top photo: Wikipedia]

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9 Responses to “A chilling holocaust memorial at Madison Square”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    I am glad that this memorial is there. The post-war memorial “is not built” is probably going to remain that way.

    A sad and important……(thanks to you not invisible) memorial to a terrible chapter in the history of the world.
    Next time I’m in NYC; I’m going.

    ps. Imagine this. When I was 18 years old; I went on a trip to Europe..a bunch of college students. 32 cities, 18 countries designed by a college professor at UCLA. I went to Auschwitz. I saw it. I will never forget it as long as I have a mind. That was 49 years ago. I recognize the map.

    Thank God that is there! Thank you for sharing!

    I LOVE your blog!!!

  2. Austin Starr Says:

    how many memorials are there to the holocaust of the native americans or don’t they count since that holocaust isn’t spelled with a capitol ‘H’? just saying.

  3. William Krause Says:

    Holocaust, capital ‘h,’ or not, means slaughter or destruction on a mass scale. Of course Native Americans (& others) count too, but their fates might more aptly be described differently.
    I think of them often.

  4. Dave Says:

    Saying that the entire Allied force was indifferent is borderline idiotic. Perhaps the Soviets were when they liberated the camp, but there were plenty of Jews who died fighting on the American side.

  5. lsussan Says:

    There were plenty of Jews who died on the Soviet side as well. I don’t think the point is that the soldiers were indifferent — and that is demonstrably not true. There are many accounts of the devastation felt by the soldiers who liberated the camps but they are not the ones who had seen the aerial photography before hand. The indifference was on the part of the Allied governments, and in particular the US, which knew that slaughter on this scale was going on and did not target the rail lines leading to the camps or permit the fleeing refugees to enter the US.

    • Dave Says:

      My point is that blanket statements are unfair. Certainly there were elements of the Allied leadership that may have been indifferent. And it’s just as likely that many were not indifferent. So let’s not disgrace the entire Allied side with dumb statements.

  6. Walk About New York Says:

    Thank you for this valuable information. It is worthy of adding to my Five Squares and a Circle Tour (http://walkaboutny.com/the-tours/five-squares-and-a-circle-tour/), which includes Madison Square Park.

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