Who is Commemorated?
Ghetto fighters, the underground resistance, the U.S. Armed Forces who helped defeat the scourge of Nazism and the six million Jews and all other victims who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
A bronze figurative sculpture depicts four individuals during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The group consists of a Jewish resistance fighter (identified by his bandolier), a mother holding a dead child, and a small boy with kippah who clings to an older bearded man dressed in more traditional garb. The feet of the figures rest on ruins of the Ghetto including scattered bricks and other building rubble, and a damaged Torah scroll. At the bottom of the statues amidst this depiction of ruin is inscribed: "Thou shallt not kill." The bronze group is set on a black marble base with inscriptions in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish on all sides. A separate free-standing bronze plaque with information about the history of the memorial is set next to the monument.
The accompanying plaque reads:
The monument has been erected
as a lasting memorial to all
victims of Nazism and will remain
in perpetuity as a reminder what
hate can do to mankind, if decent
people are not vigilant to forestall
such a calamity in the future
The inscription is followed by the names of the board members. trustees, artist, sculptor, and contractor.
Inscriptions on the stone base include:
Inscriptions in Hebrew and English on the north side:
In memory of
The Six Million Jews
And all other victims
At the hands of the Nazis
Dedicated by the
Holocaust Monument Committee
תשמ''ז / 1987
Translation: the survivor community/ 1987
Inscriptions in Yiddish and English on the west side read:
געדענק אונדזערע קדושים
Translation: Remember our martyrs
Remember the Martyrs
Bergen Belsen Majdanek
And all Other Concentration Camps
Inscription in English on the east side reads:
In honor of
the Ghetto fighters
the underground resistance
and the U.S. Armed Forces
who helped defeat
the scourge of Nazism.
Inscriptions in Hebrew and English on the south side cite the Biblical verse Lamentations 1:12 and read:
אם יש מכאוב כמכאבי
אשר עולל לי
איבה א יז
Behold and see
If there be any pain
Like unto my pain
Which is done unto me
Sheerit Hapleitah of Metropolitan Chicago (on behalf of the survivor community)
Summary and Remarks
The monument was dedicated May 3, 1987. Skokie was selected as the site for the Monument because when the monument was installed, Village officials estimated that 7,000 of Skokie`s 69,000 inhabitants were Holocaust survivors. The Monument is installed on the Village Green, a plaza located between Skokie Village Hall (5127 Oakton Street) and the Skokie Public Library (5215 Oakton Street). The other sculpture on the Village Green is placed there as art, without historical or commemorative purpose.
The monument gained immediate attention because on the night after its dedication it was vandalized. Local political, civic, and religious leaders then used the occasion to further denounce antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
Gruber, Samuel D. “Skokie Holocaust Monument: A Return to "Realism" in Holocaust Remembrance,” Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments, February 18, 2022 , https://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.com/2022/02/skokie-holocaust-monument-return-to.html (accessed February 20, 2022)
Holocaust Monument - Skokie, IL - The Holocaust on Waymarking.com,” Waymarking, https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMC19M_Holocaust_Monument_Skokie_IL (accessed January 4, 2022)
Recktenwald, William and Cheryl Devall,“Vandals deface new holocaust memorial” Chicago Tribune, June 2, 1987, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1987-06-02-8702100514-story.html (accessed January 4, 2022)