Yesterday, was the start of a short vacation. So, being that Miami is a world-class tourist destination, I decided to be a tourist for a day in my own city. I have always wanted to see the Holocaust Memorial in person. It is the “giant hand” that stands on the corner of Meridian Ave and Dade Blvd in Miami Beach, near the convention center. I casually went, just to take a few pictures for a new found hobby but the casual stroll soon became an emotional experience. I have driven by this sculpture hundreds of times and had assumed it was just a static sculpture of historic importance. The Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach is more than that. The size of the sculpture is impressive as I first arrived. But then I was surprised to see a circular walk way that leads to more. First a 360 degree view of the reflection pool that surrounds the Holocaust Memorial. Mean while, as you walk on the walk way , one gets the subtle feeling that you are descending in to something. Eventually it does.
At the end of the circular walk way is the most impactful experience of the memorial, a narrow stone hall filled with the angelic sounds of children singing in a foreign but familiar language. Which then leads visitors to a surprise close up of the memorial’s centerpiece, the giant sculpture entitled Sculpture of Love and Anguish. I passed through this hall until it opened up. Now I was surrounded in a circular embankment below the water level of the reflection pool, only the stone walls protect visitors from being submerged in water and becoming part of the tragic end. This eerie claustrophobic feeling made me leave.
As a I was leaving, stepping back into the narrow stone hall, the children singing brought me back at ease. But as I looked back, there, a sculpture of a woman kneeled at the entrance was begging me not to abandon her.
The Holocaust is truly an astonishing, thought-provoking Art of Miami. It is a must for visitors and locals to experience. I have been to many of Washington D.C’s memorials and I can truly say I have not been moved as much as did the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach moved me.
The Holocaust Memorial was conceived in 1984 by a committee of holocaust survivors. It was designed by artist Kenneth Treister and built-in 1990. The height of the giant hand sculpture at the Holocaust Memorial is 42 feet, exactly the same height of the Statue of Liberty’s arm in New York. Both are sculptures representing an extended right hand.
It is located on 1933-1945 Meridian avenue. The numerical address reflects the years that World War II took place.
pictures by Harold Rosario of ArtofMiami.com