The Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial, nestled on the banks of the Providence River, has a dual purpose. It stands in honor to, and as a reminder of, the 6 million Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. At the same, time the memorial also serves as a tribute to those who survived the Holocaust, made their way to Rhode Island, and built new lives, families and businesses while contributing to the cultural landscape of our state.
The Memorial is a tribute to all we have lost, all we have learned and serves as a hope for the future. Its creation was a collaboration between the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center (SBHEC), under the guidance of the Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial committee. By sharing a place for meaningful reflection, they hoped that the Memorial would help to create a kinder world where all can live together with dignity in peace.
It was designed by Rhode Island School of Design-based sculptor Jonathan Bonner. He designed it to be a stark reminder of the cruel realities of the Holocaust as well as a beacon of hope and renewal for the the lives that were built here in Rhode Island.
The Memorial itself is a sculpture garden with a winding stone path engraved with railroad tracks, an outer curb with the names of the most notorious and well-known concentration camps, an inner curb with names of many of the survivors who came to Rhode Island, six conical stone pillars, and at its center a smooth elliptical “Life” stone. Woven together the parts reverently trace the journey of those who perished and those who survived.
To some, the Memorial appears to be complete. But it is not. The inner curb inscribed with the names of those who survived and came to Rhode Island is not complete. The SBHEC and the Alliance need your help to finish the project.
SBHEC and the Alliance will soon start a second round of inscriptions of names of Holocaust survivors, and they need your help to ensure that all the names will be there. The Memorial must represent all of the survivors who came to Rhode Island so this mission to collect all of the names is of paramount importance.
Please reach out to family and friends who might have names of survivors who settled in Rhode Island that were not included in the first inscription. If you, or anyone you know, can help please contact SBHEC Executive Director May-Ronny Zeidman. She can be reached at 401-453-7860 or email@example.com.
Thousands of people, including student groups, community groups and WaterFire attendees, walk through the Memorial every year. With your help, those visitors will have the fullest experience possible.
LEV POPLOW is a communications consultant writing on behalf of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.