Birmingham Holocaust Memorial Garden

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The Birmingham Holocaust Memorial Garden is a planned project developed by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center for a memorial to victims of the Nazi holocaust to be installed near the existing 9-11 Memorial on 19th Street North.

The memorial garden was designed by the center in collaboration with Amy Smith of KPS Group. In contrast to many such memorials, the Birmingham garden's focus would be on "educating young people about the attitudes and actions that escalated to the Holocaust." A smooth granite sphere rotating atop a fountain at the entrance would illustrate the potential for anyone to "make a change". At the end of a curving path another sphere, made from barbed wire and internally lit, would serve as the focal point of the memorial, an emblem of the result of the progression of inhumane choices. A series of five plaques along the path would tell stories of escalating hate as one walks toward the metal sphere. The reverse sides of the plaques, seen when exiting, would present examples of when individuals overcame prejudice to change society for the better.

When the center's request for a ground lease and site preparation was brought to the Birmingham City Council in June 2016, councilor Sheila Tyson questioned why this project would qualify for public funding while her attempts to secure funds for Shadow Lawn Cemetery were deemed inappropriate. Ultimately the council voted on July 6 to approve the request, giving the center a green light to proceed with its fund-raising campaign.

References

  • Tomberlin, Michael (January 29, 2014) "Birmingham Holocaust Memorial Garden planned for downtown." The Birmingham News
  • Archibald, John (June 22, 2016) "Alabama city councilwoman on Holocaust: "Dead is dead"." The Birmingham News
  • Shepard, Peyton (July 8, 2016) "What's the next step for downtown Birmingham's Holocaust memorial?" Birmingham Business Journal