Obj. ID: 42170
Jewish Funerary Art Binghamton area Holocaust Memorial, Temple Israel Cemetery in Conklin, NY, USA, 1952
Who is Commemorated?
More than 250 relatives and friends of local Jews who died in the Holocaust and who have no marked graves.
This monument, a surrogate matzevah for those who have no burial place, takes its place among other graves of war dead in the Temple Israel and adjacent Beth David cemetery.
The monument consists of a flat square granite stone laid on a bed of rounded stones. A tall vertical grey granite tombstone (matzevah) is set on the flat stone. Inscribed on the center part of the stone is a commemorative inscription set beneath the depiction of a bowl lamp with a burning flame, either meant to denote a ner tamid (eternal lamp), or a memorial lamp. An inscribed Magen David is at the end of the inscription. Below this is a short inscription in Hebrew based on the memorial prayer Av Ha-Rahamim.
In memory of the
victims of racial per-
secution who lost
their lives in Europe.
During the Years 1933-
1945. They will never
The Hebrew inscription cites the memorial prayer Av Rahamim and reads:
יזכרם אל לטובה וינקום נקמת
דם עבדיו השפוך ת'נ'צ'ב'ה' [=תהי נפשם צרורה בצרור החיים ]
Translation: Our God will recall them favorably and will avenge the blood of His servants that has been shed [Av Rahamim]. May their souls be bound in the bundle of life.
The Get Together Club (a group of German-speaking Jewish refugees from Germany).
| Riverside Cemetery Road
This is one of the earliest memorials to Holocaust victims erected in the United States.
The Binghamton project began in 1948 when according to Prof. Rhonda Levine:
"a group of thirteen German-speaking Jewish women who had resettled in the Southern Tier after fleeing Nazi terror in Europe formed the Get Together Club, a philanthropic and social club. The most ambitious project of the Get Together Club was the placement of a memorial stone in the Temple Israel section of the Conklin Avenue cemetery in November 1952, in memory of those who died during the Holocaust.
The husband of a member of the Get Together Club bemoaned the fact that his parents, who had died in one of the concentration camps, had no graves. He told his wife, “I feel so bad. There’s no place for me to say a prayer.” His wife told him she had read in The Aufbau that people were making memorial stones in New York for those who died in the death camps. She then decided to bring the idea of erecting a memorial stone to the Get Together Club as a project. Many of the members had relatives who died during the Holocaust and had no proper burial or even marking of a grave. Club members began contacting all the Jewish families of primarily German descent in the area who lost family members in Nazi Germany and took up a collection to pay for the memorial.
The monument was dedicated on Sunday, November 9, 1952. Over 250 names were inscribed on scrolls and placed in a copper box buried at the foot of the monument. The Get Together Club asked all the local rabbis to recite prayers at the unveiling of the monument. Each year thereafter, on the Sunday in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Get Together Club sponsored a memorial service at the monument, with area rabbis taking turns at leading the service, and then one of the survivors read the names written on the scrolls. These services continued for over 20 years, well into the late 1970s.
According to Prof. Rhonda Levine, "as members of these families died or moved away the purpose - and even the existence - of the monument was largely forgotten." Kaddish was no longer recited at the monument on annual pilgrimages to the cemetery, and the names of those buried beneath the stone and even of those who donated for its erection were lost to memory.
Gruber, Samuel D. “USA: In Binghamton, NY, Rediscovery of an Early "Holocaust" Memorial,” Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments, November 13, 2015., https://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.com/2015/11/usa-in-binghamton-ny-rediscovery-of.html (accessed December 13, 2021)