Holocaust Garden at U Planned for Spring

In 1933, nine million Jews lived in Germany or in parts of Europe that Nazi Germany would later occupy. By 1943, two-thirds of the European Jewish population had been eliminated. Decades later, society is struggling to remember and comprehend what happened.

As part of this attempt to remember, John and Marcia Price donated $500,000 to build a garden at the I.J. Jeann Wagner Jewish Community Center located at Fort Douglas. The Price Family Holocaust Memorial Garden was designed by Wendy Joseph, who gave a lecture to the Graduate School of Architecture on Monday.

In her lecture, Joseph discussed design of the garden and the purpose of each element used.

“The garden is meant to be a contemplative space,” she said. “It will be a place to remember.”

Joseph and the other architects finally decided to use six elements of a house to represent a house during the Night of Broken Glass. Those six elements were a wall, room, floor, bookshelf, bed and hearth.

The wall is made up of small panels of stone with water slowly dripping over it. The roof is a roof of rafters. The bed becomes a bed of flowers, and the hearth is composed of small round stones, which Jews use to mark graves.

All of the elements in the garden are symbolic, according to Joseph, but she does not expect visitors to easily see the symbolic significance of each element.

“The messages get across because there’s something underlying,” Joseph said. “For each of the elements, it became ‘What would be the right interpretation?'”

The garden’s interior will include six kiosks that tell the story of the Holocaust. The garden will open sometime in the spring.

Joseph showed the audience unused ideas and concepts she had for the garden during the planning stages. The design started simply, but then Joseph decided that those plans “didn’t have enough tension.”

The group then started to look at ideas that would convey the hidden sense of the Holocaust, using thick metal poles to feel like a forest. According to Joseph, they wanted to “create places that had a sense of movement and change.”

This idea also wasn’t used.

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