The Spokane Community Holocaust Memorial, which was dedicated Thursday evening, honors not just the 6 million Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, but those who lived.
“It was important to remember that there are survivors and families of victims in Spokane,” said Pam Silverstein, who led the committee that worked for the memorial. “It wasn’t just an event that affected Jews that live elsewhere.”
More than 200 people attended the dedication of the sculpture, which is next to Temple Beth Shalom, 1322 E. 30th Ave.
Silverstein said the committee worked about five years on the project and raised about $50,000 to create the memorial.
The sculptor, Simon Kogan, said the work remembers those who died and celebrates the endurance and strength of those who survived. It is meant to be interactive and will mean different things to different people, Kogan said.
The bronze sculpture is about 9 feet tall and has all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to represent the people killed – victims who may not have had friends or family left to remember them. There are also sets of a child’s and an adult’s handprints that will attract people to press their hands against the prints and lean on the work, Kogan said.
“Then you become one with the sculpture,” said Kogan, who lives in Olympia.
After the dedication, the crowd moved into the temple for a Holocaust remembrance service.
Among those in attendance at the dedication and service were four Holocaust survivors, including Eva Lassman, who moved to Spokane a few years after being librated and who was a driving force behind the memorial.
“It will stand as a beacon against hate so that future generations will have the opportunity to live in peace,” Lassman said.