I stumbled upon this powerful and beautiful New England Holocaust Memorial when we got a little sidetracked looking for the Freedom Trial. This is actually on the Freedom Trail (though not part of it), but if we continued on this route, we would have been going in the opposite direction from the trail we decided to go on.
The stone at the beginning of the path read:
“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
THEN THEY CAME for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
I saw some glass pillars from a distance and decided to just walk to it to see what it was. I had no idea what I was walking into after reading the quote from Pastor Martin Niemoeller, which I later found out that I started at the end of the memorial.
It definitely did not take long for me to realize this was a Holocaust memorial. The side of the pathway was lined with quotes from holocaust survivors.
As I entered the first of six 52-foot high glass pillar, I was greeted by smoke rising from what looked like a vent below. Each tower actually has a pit that is lined with black concrete and a glowing fire at the bottom reminding us of the horrors of the holocaust.
And as I look up and to the sides, numbers are etched into the glass. These are the numbers that were tattooed on the arms of the concentration camp prisoners. And as the official website describes the numbers, “they [visitors] entering the towers, they [visitors] are tattooed with the shadows of the numbers, and trapped momentarily in a theatre of horror.”
There are a total of six glass towers, and six vents below representing the significance of the number six to the holocaust.
- 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust
- The names of the 6 main death camps
- The 6 years, 1939-1945, during which the infamous “Final Solution,” the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, took place
New England Holocaust Memorial
98 Union St,
Boston, MA 02129