You will find something surprising on the Freedom Trail in Boston. Along this walk of historical buildings that date from the American Revolution is a memorial built only a few years ago. You round a corner, and here is what you see.
This is the New England Holocaust Memorial. It stands as an imposing tribute to hope. The idea for this was born of survivors of the Holocaust who live in Boston. They survived the camps with at least a tiny shred of hope intact, and they started over. They are successful in life, with families and businesses.
The designers wrote, “The memorial to darkness is built with light.” And so what you see and experience is the light through the glass walls. The 6 glass towers represent the 6 death camps in Poland during WWII.
On the soaring walls you see numbers etched in the glass — 6 million of them to represent all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. You walk through the glass, marveling at the sheer number of numbers.
My husband Curt snapped this photo of me at the memorial. I think I was torn between smiling for the photo and thinking that it’s a travesty to smile at such a sobering place. Yet we can smile at the hope this place represents.
Last week, a Commemoration was held at the memorial. The committee organizing this writes: “This year, we honor the strength and resiliency that enabled individuals to survive and rebuild lives of meaning, dignity and purpose. Their courage in bearing witness and transmitting memory to new generations sustains our commitment to remember the Holocaust for all time.”
I can’t begin to imagine the life of the survivors. But we can all honor them. We can learn from them. They show us a picture of hope and resiliency. We can cry for them and for the unfathomable sorrow of the Holocaust. We can smile because hope lived through the darkness and shines again in the light.
Photos are processed with the textures Lincoln and Braveheart from Nancy at A Rural Journal.