Updated: Mar 19
When I think of Miami Beach as a Floridian, I envision beaches, nightlife, exquisite restaurants, and the Art deco architecture buildings that are world renown. A design style of the 1920s and '30s characterized by bold colors and geometric shapes. A fun fact to know about Miami Beach is that Barbara Baer Capitman, a Jewish female, launched the campaign that established the Art Deco District in the 1980s.
In 1984, a society of Holocaust survivors joined together to develop a memorial in Miami to the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. The committee decided that Miami Beach was the perfect location as South Florida has one of the highest populations of Holocaust survivors in the United States. They turned to architect Kenneth Treister with the challenge of conveying the inconceivable agony the victims had to endure. Trieste’s initial sketches "showed an outstretched arm, reaching for the skies as hundreds of small human figures cling to it and to each other.
Other early drawings show emaciated people reaching out for help, a naked woman holding onto her baby and a small child, huddled and crying under a blanke." Treister’s design received a substantial amount of negative feedback saying “grotesque,” and a “brutal intrusion on the cityscape.” However, the holocaust survivors and committee members said the message was to convey the suffering. The Memorial took more than four years to build and is standing stronger for more than 30 years now.
This City Art is by far one of my favorites pieces I visited last summer as it brought me to tears. When you detail the masterpiece, you can feel the death of the Jewish population. It brings history to life in your mind and spirit; it is one of the world’s most emotional pieces and one that will not be forgotten once you see it. This City memorial intends to honor the victims and their families but most important to ensure the gene size will never be forgotten. Around the sculpture, the walls have the events that led to
this human catastrophe and the names of the victims. There are pictures of the horrific crimes and attempt to annihilate the Jews. On one of the walls, one of the most popular young writers Anne Frank sentiments are quoted “Then in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." In reading those chilling words whilst in front of this piece holds true; even under the worst circumstances, there is faith in the soul of humans.
The Memorial is located at 1933-1945 Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida. Free and open to the Public year-round.