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Henry M Orenstein

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Obscure and Quietly Powerful NYC Holocaust Memorial at 27 Madison Avenue


Today marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland by the Soviet army. An estimated one million people were killed in n the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the vast majority of whom were Jews. To put that number in perspective, there are approximately 1.1 million Jewish residents residing today in the five boroughs of NYC.

In total, the Nazi campaign to eradicate Jews from Europe claimed more than 6 million Jewish lives, while others such as Poles, Roma and Sinti were also put to death in concentration camps.

Holocaust survivors gathered at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Monday to mark 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp — and perhaps the last major anniversary for which many of them will be alive to share their stories (Washington Post 1/27/20).

Hidden away on the Madison Avenue side of the magnificent Appellate Division Courthouse (exterior shown in top left photo and interior photos on bottom row) on Madison Avenue and 25th Street, and rarely noticed, is a miniature memorial to the Holocaust. The sculpture is titled "Memorial to Victims of the Injustice of the Holocaust". A column was added to the façade in 1990, (top right photo) this one covered in swirling flames. And at eye level, carved into the column is a representation of Auschwitz.

Sculpted by Harriet Feigenbaum, the camp is shown from a bird’s-eye view, and details where the commandant’s house was and, more chillingly, the execution wall, torture chamber, gas chamber, and crematorium. The overall height of the Memorial being 38 feet. Carvings of flames along the length of the column recall the flames of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. They appear to blow in the direction of the courthouse as if to threaten the symbol of Justice.

On the base under the relief is a giant flame extending below ground level as a final reminder of Crematorium 1 at Auschwitz." The words "Indifference to Injustice is the Gate to Hell" are engraved around the image.(Atlas Obscura).

For more about the Appellate Division Courthouse (architect James Brown Lord) check out this article by Untapped Cities:

Note during the week day you should be able to walk into the main entrance on 25th to get a look at the magnificent lobby.


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