Obj. ID: 45233
Modern Jewish Art Holocaust memorial in the Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach, FL, USA, ca. 1965
To the main object: Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach, FL, USA
An impressive large metal sculptural monument commemorating the Shoah stood in front of the synagogue near the street, but it has been removed. The memorial was in the shape of a tree or lit flame set above an inscribed metal open scroll, installed on a stone base in the shape of a Magen David. Along the sides of the stone base was attached an inscription in raised metal Hebrew letters. Based on photographs, these letters were already removed some time before the main monument was taken down. From the known photos, it appears the upright sculpture, the inscribed scroll and the Hebrew letters attached to the base, were made of either a reddish-colored metal (perhaps copper), but this has not been confirmed.
The inscription reads:
“In the dark era of the Nazi infamy one-third of our people were brutally annihilated. Let this be a stern warning to all men against silence in the face of tyranny and never again shall the conscience of men be still in the presence of inhumane cruelty and injustice.”
Beth Israel Congregation (unconfirmed)
Beth Israel (House of Israel) Congregation began in 1954, founded by Orthodox New Yorkers who moved to Miami Beach for the winters. By 1964, the congregation had outgrown its small space in former storefronts and bought and rebuilt an existing building into a distinctive domed modern synagogue. Soon afterward, the memorial monument was built in front of the entrance to the sanctuary. A postcard view of the synagogue showing the memorial monument in situ is postmarked December 3, 1966.
Until 1990, when the much larger Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation was created at 1933–1945 Meridian Avenue, this was the most prominent Holocaust monument in Miami. The reason for the removal of the monument is not confirmed, but one (verbal) report said it was due only to material deterioration, not for any religious or political reason.
Gruber, Samuel, “Miami Beach, FL ~ Beth Israel Congregation (ca. 1965),” Synagogues of the South (online exhibit), College of Charleston, 2022., https://synagoguesofthesouth.cofc.edu/synagogues/miami-beach-fl-beth-israel-congregation-ca-1965/ (accessed November 13, 2022)
“About Beth Israel.” Beth Israel Congregation, Miami Beach, Florida. , https://www.bethisraelmiami.org/about (accessed November 13, 2022)