Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January) is a national event in the UK dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of The Holocaust. First held in January 2001, it has been on the same date, every year since.
This date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union
in 1945 and the date also chosen for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
|via Flickr here|
I first became aware of the ‘Peoria Holocaust Memorial Button Project‘ in The Shoppes at Grand Prairie
in Peoria Illinois, a few years ago and what I read and the photos I saw, took my breath away.
|via Flickr here|
The Holocaust Memorial is a community-based effort coordinated through the Jewish Federation of Peoria, and is a lasting educational memorial dedicated to the six million Jews and the five million ‘enemies of the state’ murdered during the Holocaust. The Projects mission, is to teach the lessons and consequences of intolerance, prejudice and hatred, with the hope that everyone who visits this memorial, gains a better understanding about the importance of tolerance and respect for all people.
The visual image the group selected to use, was a simple button, which was chosen to represent each life because of their circular shape reminding us of the cycle of life. Buttons are also enduring – they last long after garments have faded and unraveled to remind us of the past.
The memorial contains a staggering 11 millions buttons – some big, some small, some fancy and some plain and provides a visual representation of what is too startling and too staggering for the mind or heart to comprehend. Two years of hard work, by a dedicated core of volunteers who co-ordinated the collection of buttons and the funds, from all over the world, resulted in this unique glass memorial sculpture.
Six million buttons, representing the 6 million Jews who died, are encased in 18 glass columns
in the shape of the Star of David. Eighteen is symbolic in Judaism for the word “Chai”‘ which means life. The two rows symbolize the concentration camp selection process, which indicated whether someone would live or die.
Five triangles represent the 5 million ‘enemies of the state’ who also died, including political and religious leaders, Roma gypsies, Serbians, Catholics, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Trade Unionists, alcoholics and the disabled. Each targeted group wore a different colored triangle to identify their ‘enemy’ status.
The group received an overwhelming response to this memorial, as it offers a place to learn, to share,
to reflect and to remember. The thirst for knowledge, tolerance and respect grows, and is the foundation
of making sure a tragedy like this never happens again.
The Project still needs your help to make a difference! They need additional funds to provide
educational materials, updates of visual and written displays, and ongoing maintenance of the exhibit.
Your donation will help this memorial become an important means of teaching compassion
for all human life. For more information, please contact the: Jewish Federation of Peoria,
2000 Pioneer Parkway, Suite 10B, Peoria, IL 61615 or at 309/689-0063