Object Alone

Obj. ID: 47080  Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza, Riverside Park, New York, NY, USA, 1947

© Samuel Gruber, Photographer: Gruber, Samuel D., 2023

Monument Name

Warsaw Ghetto and Holocaust Memorial

Who is Commemorated?

Warsaw Ghetto Fighters and six million Jews perished in the Holocaust

Description

This 12,000-square-foot circular plaza includes landscaped flora and benches on the perimeter, patterned bluestone walkways, and a fenced-in commemorative plaque made of granite, which itself is surrounded by a crescent of landscaped flora.

The plaque contains a dedicatory inscription, and buried beneath the plaque are two boxes containing soil from Terezin and Sered, as well as a scroll describing the defense of the Warsaw Ghetto, composed by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and written in both Hebrew and English (though this is not visible to visitors).

Along the perimeter of the plaza, one can find a sign bearing a plaque that details the history of the plaza, as well as the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Inscriptions

Dedicatory Plaque:

This is the site for

the American memo-

rial to the heroes of

The Warsaw Ghetto

Battle April - May 1943

and to the Six Mil-

lion Jews of Europe

martyred in the cause

of human liberty

Explanatory Plaque:

For more than half a century this circular plaza

at the southern end of the promenade at 83rd

Street in Riverside Park has served as a place of

contemplation and remembrance of the victims

of Nazi brutality. The plaza takes its name from

the modest granite plaque at its center. One of

the first Holocaust monuments in the United

States, the plaque and its surroundings were

dedicated on October 19, 1947 by Mayor William

O'Dwyer. A crowd of 15,000 attended, including

100 survivors of the Buchenwald and Dachau

concentration camps. Each year on April 19,

people gather here in memory of the inhabitants

of the Warsaw Ghetto, who rose up against their

Nazi Captors, and the six million other Jews

martyred during World War II.

 

Buried beneath the plaque are two boxes

containing soil from Terezin and Sered, two

concentration camps in Czechoslovakia, and

a scroll describing the defense of the Warsaw

Ghetto, in both Hebrew and English, composed

by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. In November

1940, the Nazis confined the Jews of Warsaw

within an 840-acre neighborhood (home to more

than 400,000 Jews at its peak) and kept them in

a state of near-starvation and rampant disease.

The Ghetto was sealed off from the rest of the

city by a ten foot high wall. The conditions were

horrific: the mortality rate in the Ghetto reached

over 6,000 per month.

 

In the summer of 1942, 300,000 Jews were

deported by train to the Treblinka concentration

camp. The Ghetto was now poised to be

liquidated. In the spring of 1943, after news of an

impending round of deportations, the remaining

Jews vowed to fight rather than submit, and

with smuggled weapons they rose up despite

the dismal odds. Superbly organized into roughly

50 combat groups, the Jews managed to hold off

the s.s. (elite Nazi troops), from April 19 to May

16. The Germans regained control by burning the

Ghetto to near ruin. Some 15,000 of the 56,000

Jews who fought were killed and another 40,000

deported to concentration camps. Historians

estimate that 300 Nazis were killed and another

1,000 wounded in the uprising.

 

The plaque was originally intended to serve

as a cornerstone for a larger memorial. Over

several decades sculpture proposals for this

location were submitted by Jo Davidson,

Percival Goodman, Ivan Mestrovic, and Erich

Mendelson and Nathan Rapoport, among

others, but none received funding. Over

the years, the plaque itself has become

the monument.

 

The 12,000 square-foot plaza, enclosed by

garden planters, crabapple and locust trees,

and a polychrome granite wall, was part of the

West Side Improvement. The massive Riverside

Park expansion directed by Parks Commissioner

Robert Moses, and designed by Gilmore D.

Clarks and Clinton Loyd, was completed in 1937,

and built largely with federal funds. In 1990 the

perimeter gardens were designed and planted

by David T. Goldstick.

 

In 2001 the plaza was restored and improved

through a partnership between the Riverside

Park Conservancy and the City of New York,

part of a requirements contract funded by

Mayor Giuliani. Major Support was provided by

the Deedy and David Goldstick Foundation, and

in-kind contributions were received from the

International Masonry Institute of the Union of

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen. Landscape

architect Gall E. Wittwer-Laird designed the

restoration, utilizing stone patterns and details

indicated, but not implemented, in the original

1930s plan. New bluestone curbing, lighting,

and benches were installed, the perimeter

gardens were extended and replanted, and the

fencing was replaced. Today the landscaped

plaza provides a dignified memorial within

this historic park.

Documenter
|
Author of description
Adam Frisch | 2023
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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19 image(s)

Name / Title
Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza, Riverside Park, New York, NY | Unknown
Monument Setting
Public park
{"9":"Any memorial erected or installed in a present-day public park, including Jewish cemeteries or other sites now operated as public space."}
Object Detail
Completion Date
1947, 2001
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Location
United States of America (USA) | New York | New York City, NY | Manhattan
| West 83rd Street New York, NY 10024
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Granite
Bluestone
Trees (Crabapple and Locust)
Assorted flora
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
0
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
History

One of the first Holocaust monuments in the United States, the plaque and its surroundings were dedicated on October 19, 1947, by Mayor William O'Dwyer.

The 12,000 square-foot plaza, enclosed by garden planters, crabapple and locust trees, and a polychrome granite wall, was part of the West Side Improvement. The Riverside Park expansion directed by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, and designed by Gilmore D. Clarks and Clinton Loyd, was completed in 1937 and built largely with federal funds. In 1990 the perimeter gardens were designed and planted by David T. Goldstick.

The plaque was initially intended to serve as a cornerstone for a larger memorial. Over several decades sculpture proposals for this location were submitted by Jo Davidson, Percival Goodman, Ivan Mestrovic, Erich Mendelson, and Nathan Rapoport, but none received funding. Over the years, the plaque itself has become the monument.

In 2001 the plaza was restored and improved through a partnership between the Riverside Park Conservancy and the City of New York, part of a requirements contract funded by Mayor Giuliani. 

Every year on April 19, on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising a ceremony is held in Riverside Park at the plaza honoring the victims of the uprising

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

"American Memorial to Six Million Jews of Europe," Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Memorial_to_Six_Million_Jews_of_Europe (accessed January 25, 2023)
Type
The following information on this monument will be completed: