Dedicated on April 15, 2007, the State's Holocaust Memorial was the result of three years work by a committee of 16 volunteers. The Memorial was placed under the administrative control of the Omaha-based Heartland Holocaust Education Fund, which was responsible for raising most of the funds.
Using no state funds, nearly 1,000 individuals donated to the Memorial and its educational programs. The bricks, with etched names on them in front of the concrete bleachers and in the Butterfly Garden, represent those who have donated at least $100. The bricks are an indication that this is truly a project of the people of Nebraska
Currently the Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial is under the supervision of Lincoln Community Foundation and The Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation. It is administered by a volunteer Managing Director.
In 2011, the Memorial was awarded the Rising Star Award by the Nebraskaland Foundation. The Memorial is also shown on Holocaust Memorials Around the World.
Several schools regularly visit the Memorial and many have purchased bricks to show support. It is hoped that eventually every Middle and High School in the State of Nebraska will have an engraved brick on the path in the Butterfly Garden.
The Star of Remembrance
Competition to design a suitable monument was conducted among a group of eleven architects and artists. Internationally recognized Toronto, Canada artist, Morton Katz, was ultimately selected.
The captivating "Star of Remembrance" sculpture stands sixteen feet high and is comprised of two triangle frames that form a three dimensional star. Depicted are the three stages of the Nazi war against humanity: isolation, deportation, and extermination. Images are of ordinary men, women, children, and concentration camps.
Artists Katz in explaining his work said, "To find an appropriate means of expressing the consequences of the Holocaust, I searched more than 2,000 images, many of unimaginable depravity. Rather than use those graphic images, I felt that the depiction of the victims should be of their time and in their fullness of life." Some of the pictures are of relatives of Nebraska survivors who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Side 1 of the star depicts all manner of people, young and old, rich and poor, from cities and villages accross Europe before the onslaught.
Side 2 of the star converys the rise of Nazism and the spread of the nightmare, when ordinary citizens are forcibly torn from their realities. These citizens are represented by the fading of some images alluding to the impending Holocaust.
Side 3 of the star represents the aftermath of Nazism, and the loss of more than 11 million people, obliterated by state-sanctioned systematic murder. The fading of all the images protrays their disappearance from existence.
As you enter the Memorial you will note a box with stones. Those of you who would like can take one to place on the Memorial or at the base of the Wall of Remembrance as a way to remember those who were murdered but not forgotten.
The "Sea of Stones" surrounding the Memorial contains roughly 11 million stones to represent the 11 million individuals murdered by the Nazis. Among the stones are markers with the names of individuals murdered in the Holocaust who have relatives in Nebraska.
The pictures on the Wall speak for themselves - they are to remind us all that what happened was brutal and was carried out by "normal" individuals - as the pictures show, the people who were victims and the people who were victimized all look like average, normal people. And that may be the worst part of the tragedy.
The plaques on the North side of the small stand give the names of those who organized and have supported the Memorial with their time and money. The plaques on the South side name Nebraska-based individuals who were part of the military units which liberated some of the camps. The names of those military units are listed. This Memorial is not only to remember the atrocities and those who were victims, it is equally important to remember those individuals who fought to end the Holocaust and those who worked to protect or save the victims.
You will note, on the Wall of Remembrance, the number which was burned into the arm of one of the Nebraska Survivors. It is there to again remind us that we are talking about real individuals - in this case, one who survived life in the camps. We do not give the name because this Memorial is not about one person - it is about all who were victims. Some of the victims were rich and famous, most were not. Some of the victims had full lives - most were young and their lives only beginning.
Built to remember the more than one and one-half million children murdered in the Holocaust, this garden is meant to serve as a place of beauty and peace - it is not intended to represent sadness for those lost in the past, but rather as a place of hope for those who will come in the future and live in a world free from poverty, discrimination, prejudice, and despair. The hope may seem bigger than the reality of our world today may suggest, but it is up to us to turn our hopes into reality through how we live our lives and how we treat others.
Many of the bricks on the path through the Butterfly Garden contain the same names of schools that raised funds to help support the educational component of the Nebraska Holocaust Memorial and who visit the Memorial. It is our hope that someday every school in the state of Nebraska will have a brick on the walk to demonstrate that all of Nebraska is a place dedicated to showing there is no place for hate.
Those interested in supporting the Memorial may do so by contacting:
Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation - Sam and Francis Fried Nebraska State Holocaust Fund
333 S 132nd Street
Omaha, NE 58154
For every donation of $100 or more, you may request a personalized brick that will be placed at the memorial. Each inscription may have up to 3 lines.
Checks should be made out to the Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial.
General donations for upkeep of the Memorial can be made to:
Cece and Gary Hill Holocaust Memorial Maintenance Fund
c/o Lincoln Community Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 100 Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Checks should be made out to the Cece and Gary Hill Holocaust Memorial Maintenance Fund.
The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial is located in the Wyuka Cemetery at 3600 O St in Lincoln, NE.
Designated as the Nebraska State Cemetery, Wyuka is a large, scenic, park-like cemetery, with curving roads accentuating the lay of the land and abundant plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Visitors are encouraged to stroll, remember, and learn about Nebraska's past.
Wyuka's grounds are traditionally open for burials of persons of many religions, races, and national origions.
This website was developed with the support of the Shirley & Leonard Goldstein Supporting Foundation