Best memorial to Jews who kicked ass (2008)

Sheepshead Bay Holocaust Memorial

Most Holocaust memorials stick to a simple script of Nazi aggression and Jewish victimhood. The Sheepshead Bay Holocaust Memorial, an array of stone tablets set on a leafy patch at the western end of the bay, tells a richer story. It casts the net of culpability wider than usual, indicting the Western countries that (with the notable exception of the Dominican Republic) denied entry to fleeing Jews, as well as the Croats, Ukrainians, and others who pitched in with the German slaughter. And it pays heed to the breadth of suffering, recalling the gays, Jehovah's Witnesses, Slavs, and Soviet P.O.W.'s who were murdered or forced into slave labor by the reich. But it also names unsung heroes, like Mordecai Gebirtig, the Yiddish folk poet who inspired youth in the Kraków ghetto to take up arms, and Adam Czerniakow, a Jewish leader in the Warsaw ghetto who killed himself rather than sign a deportation order for his neighbors. There are monuments to the uprisings by Jews at Auschwitz and Treblinka, and to the heroism of gentiles who saved the condemned. Visitors can read the "Anthem of the Jewish Partisans," and the verse of Hannah Szenes, who left safety in Palestine to parachute behind Nazi lines and fight with partisan forces. She was caught, tortured, and killed, but not before she wrote, "Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame."


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >