Holocaust Memorial.

Overlooked Memorial to the Holocaust

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

In 1990, New York's governor and New York City's mayor helped unveil New York's Holocaust Memorial. It's not a flagrantly bleak piece of public art, but a fake column added to the Beaux-Arts Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State. The column has flames chiseled all the way up it. Carved into its base, at eye level, is an overhead view of the Auschwitz death camp with call-outs such as "torture chamber" and "execution wall."

A date beneath the carving of the camp, August 25, 1944, is the date of the Allied aerial photograph from which the carving was made, and suggests that America knew about Auschwitz but did nothing about it. An inscription, "Indifference to Injustice... Is the Gate to Hell," further makes the point, and also ties it to the courthouse (and the flames).

The memorial faces busy Madison Ave. and popular Madison Square Park in midtown Manhattan. The governor and mayor obviously wanted people to notice it -- but few do. A lone, fake column on a building built like a flashy Roman temple, with lots of gaudy genuine columns, big eye-catching statues, and elaborate decorative filigree, is pretty much invisible.

Overlooked Memorial to the Holocaust

Address:
27 Madison Ave., New York, NY
Directions:
On the east side of Madison Ave. between 25th and 26th Sts, which is opposite Madison Square Park. At the far north edge of the faux-Roman Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State, next to a tall, black boxy skyscraper.
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