July 10, 2020

Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial

The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial is a memorial built in honor and remembrance of those who lost their lives, survived, or played a role in ending the Holocaust. Wyuka Cemetery is the chosen location for the memorial to be placed. Wyuka is the Nebraska State Cemetery as it represents the entire state and is the resting place for individuals from all over Nebraska. Wyuka’s charming grounds and the vast diversity of those buried in the cemetery create the ideal location for the Holocaust Memorial.

The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial was dedicated on April 15, 2007, and is the result of three years of work by sixteen volunteers. The memorial used no state funds. Instead, the memorial’s construction was funded by almost 1,000 donors, genuinely making it a monument by and for the people of Nebraska. The Holocaust Memorial is dedicated to the men, women, and children who lost their lives during this tragedy, and it honors the survivors and liberators of the Holocaust. 

The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial consists of several areas, each dedicated to a different piece of Holocaust history. The most prominent area of the memorial is a commissioned monument called the Star of Remembrance. This sculpture is located at the front of the Holocaust Memorial and stands at sixteen feet tall. The Star of Remembrance depicts the three stages of the Nazi war: isolation, deportation, and extermination. At the center of the memorial stands the Wall of Remembrance. The wall includes heart-wrenching photographs from the period to place the cruel truth and severity of the Holocaust into perspective. Surrounding the memorial is the Sea of Stones, which represents the eleven million people murdered in the Holocaust. Among the stones are bricks engraved with the names of passed Nebraskan relatives who were victims of the Holocaust. Plaques listing the names of Nebraska-based military individuals involved in the fight to end the Holocaust are on the south side of the memorial. 

The remainder of the memorial includes interactive experiences for visitors to reflect on the gruesome horrors of the Holocaust, allowing for the hope of better times ahead. A box of stones is nearby to allow visitors to take and place one at the base of the memorial. This action signifies the remembrance of those who have passed and honors the heroes involved in liberating the survivors. The final area of the Holocaust Memorial is the Butterfly Garden. The garden is a peaceful place created in memory of the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust. The tranquil Butterfly Garden serves as a place of hope for the future to overcome oppression, poverty, and despair. This garden is the optimal place to end a visit to allow for a moment of peaceful reflection.

The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial in Wyuka Cemetery has many visitors, including travelers, schools, and people from all over the state and beyond. Wyuka is open 8:00 AM to dusk and is open to everyone. The Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial is a beautifully moving work of art and architecture that allows viewers to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust while also giving hope for a better future through education and acceptance of others.


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