Peoria Holocaust Memorial is about to have a new home. The 11 million buttons formerly housed in glass cases at the Shoppes at Grande Prairie will soon be on display at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.
Members of the Jewish Federation and the memorial committee gathered with other community members and leaders yesterday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for the groundbreaking.
Susan Katz is with the Jewish Federation of Peoria. She says the Memorial is more than a symbol of the six million Jews and five million enemies of the state who perished in the Holocaust. “It’s a lesson of never again and it’s a lesson we need to take to today’s world. We need to remember this is what happens when we turn a blind eye to racism and bigotry in our society.”
The 11-million buttons that were on display at the Shoppes at Grande Prairie for 11 years are in the process of being washed and dried before they’ll be placed at the new memorial.
She says moving forward with the memorial on the Museum grounds is a perfect fit, “to educate, to teach our children, and to teach anybody who visits it that they must be vigilant, they must speak out when they see racism and bigotry, they must be up-standers and not bystanders, because to stand by and silently condone racism and bigotry is to support it.”
The memorial, the only one of its kind has a lot of symbolism.
*Each button is unique like a person.
*Buttons were a part of the clothes left behind at the gates of the camps and ghettos.
*Button are enduring, they last long after a garment is gone.
*Buttons are most often round and symbolize the cycle of life.
The design of the display:
*18 Columns, each in the shape of the Star of David, will hold six-million buttons representing the Jews killed Holocaust.
*The columns, displayed equally divided in two lines are reminiscent of the selection process Jews endured at the concentration camps. One line led to instant death and the other to forced labor and incarceration.
*The five triangles at one end of the display hold five-million buttons, broadly representing each group the Nazi’s named ‘Enemies of the State,’ including political dissidents, homosexuals, Roma, Jehovah Witnesses, Communist, opponents of Nazism and anti-socials
The memorial rededication is April 23, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in concert Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Holocaust survivor Manfred Katz is scheduled to be the guest speaker.
Link here to the Peoria Holocaust Memorial website.