Thinking about Florida: The Holocaust Memorial

September 12, 2017

 

With all the news coverage of Hurricane Irma, and the anniversary of 9/11, I've been thinking about the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach.

 

For a few different reasons, I went to Florida several times in the 1990s--Miami and Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West.  I was in Miami about a year after Andrew, and the aftermath of the storm was still visible everywhere.  Another year I was there during a tropical storm, watching from about six stories up in a beachfront condo as the palm trees were bent down to the ground by ferocious winds.  It wasn't really dangerous, but I was surprisingly scared.

 

The Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach was very new when I visited for the first time.  Begun in 1985, the project took five years to complete.  At the time, an estimated 20,000 Holocaust survivors lived in the Miami area, so the location seemed very appropriate.  But some argued against creating such a grim reminder in the heart of "fun and sun" South Florida. Controversy continued over the proposed design, which many considered too harsh. 

 

The memorial's powerful, tragic sculptures in a setting that combines symbolic structures, informative presentations, and poignant beauty.      

 

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