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Rites Set Today for Holocaust Memorial in Pan Pacific Park

April 14, 1988|JAY GOLDMAN | Times Staff Writer

Survivors of the Holocaust will break ground today for a black granite monument in Pan Pacific Park marking the deaths of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

Members of the American Congress of Jews from Poland and Survivors of the Concentration Camps will meet at 11 a.m. in the amphitheater at the northern end of Pan Pacific Park. After a brief ceremony, they will break ground at the nearby monument site.

"We want people to know and remember and draw certain lessons for the future, to understand the consequences of bigotry and hatred," said Otto Schirn, who until recently was president of the group.

The Los Angeles-based group, which has about 950 members, was formed in 1948.

"When we first arrived here after the war, we decided to establish a permanent memorial for our brothers and sisters and parents who perished in the concentration camps," Schirn said.

The group received permission on Jan. 26 from the County Board of Supervisors to build the monument in the county-administered park.

The monument will consist of six black granite columns, each 18 feet high, on a hexagonal marble base measuring 35 feet across.

"On each column will be inscribed the entire story of the Holocaust through all the years of the Nazi terror in Europe," Schirn said. "The public can not only get the impression of the gigantic monument but can also read about what happened during that period."

Today is Yom Hashoah , the day designated by the Israeli parliament as the annual day of worldwide commemoration of the Holocaust, Schirn said. Once the monument is completed, flames will be lit atop each of the columns for a 24-hour period every Yom Hashoah.

Although the ground-breaking ceremony will take place today, construction probably will not begin until early next year, Schirn said. His group will use the rest of this year to raise the almost $1 million cost of the monument. Schirn expects the monument to be completed by the end of 1989.

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