Situated along the Weesperstraat, an important axis within the Jewish Cultural Quarter, the National Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names is a 1,550 square meter public memorial incorporating four volumes that are seemingly floating and represent the letters in the Hebrew word לזכר meaning “In Memory of”. As visitors enter the memorial they encounter a labyrinth of passages articulated by two-meter-high brick walls carrying the message of Remembrance.
Each of the four volumes is crafted from mirror-finished stainless steel that hovers above the walls of individually stacked bricks. 102,000 bricks are each inscribed with a name, giving a tangible quantification to the many casualties, as well as leaving 1000 blank bricks that will memorialize the unknown victims. The memorial contains the names of all Dutch Jew, Sinti and Roma Holocaust victims that have no marked grave and is the first to memorialize all the Dutch victims.
The materiality of the brick – a ubiquitous material of The Netherlands and throughout the cities of Western Europe – paired with the highly reflective and geometric forms of the steel letters reference the connection between the Netherlands past and present.
At the intersection of the brick and metallic forms is a narrow void that creates the illusion that the steel letters are hovering above and represents an interruption in the history and culture of the Dutch people. This suspended emptiness, or ‘Breath of Air’, detaches the neighborhood from a future in which Dutch-Jewish families went missing.
Below street level, the floors around the walls are of a light, stabilized gravel that creates a path through the four volumes. Simple stone blocks are placed in the open spaces and walkways to provide a resting place for contemplation and reflection. Light and reflection of the mirrored surfaces (self-reflection as well as reflection from the street and the city that surrounds it) are necessary for a meaningful understanding of what happened and the lives lost in the catastrophe of the Holocaust.
The memorial will have an interactive element allowing visitors to place stones by the names on the bricks, similar to the way one honors the dead at a grave. .
National Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names Gallery
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