Ever come into contact with the expression wherein one “needs a night in Atlantic City”? Whoever coined it obviously never foresaw the day Atlantic City would be getting a Holocaust memorial.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a Holocaust memorial anywhere, per se — it’s something that should be memorialized — but of the few places in the country where there are Holocaust memorials, the place you take the ACES Train to get to certainly doesn’t seem like an obvious choice. Of the chosen location for the future memorial, Laurie Stern at The Forward writes:
It is a shaded alcove that serves as a respite for the sun or slots weary, those wishing to drown their sorrows in a rainbow-sprinkled ice cream cone or light up a cigarette or two. To the south, seagulls fly over grass-covered sand dunes. To the north, garish signs advertise Lucky Lou’s Tattoos, Massage Paradise, Three Brothers Pizza Palace and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. A few homeless people loiter nearby.
But the most jarring aspect of the scene may be the plain white banner hanging from the pavilion’s edge, which reads, “Future site of the Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial.”
Jarring, indeed. How do Holocaust survivor advocates feel about this? The vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, Menachem Rosensaft:
“Obviously in that kind of environment, much greater care is going to have to be taken to make sure the topic is being handled with tremendous sensitivity and respect. The Atlantic City boardwalk isn’t known to attract people who want to engage in particular introspection.”
That’s a very kind and gentle way of saying people are too shitfaced in Atlantic City — because it’s where they go to drown their sorrows in gambling and drinking and terrible nightlife and arbitrary, diseased sexual encounters with one another — to really care about the Holocaust. I’m not sure you could find a place with a base group of visitors less interested in remembering the Holocaust than the denizens of Atlantic City.
This is no better (or worse) than putting a Holocaust memorial in Vegas, somewhere between the Treasure Island and The Mirage, so as soon as you’re done learning the obscure stories about the various, horrific ways children were killed by Nazis, you can step outside to be sandwiched between a T & A pirate battle and a volcano that shoots fire every 45 minutes, and both places have buffets, and you may choose either, and you may mumble to yourself, “Never again,” with a mouth full of crablegs, and it will be okay, because even though it’s traif, it’s your traif, you are here, and you will continue to be here, and that traif will be endless for you.
This is a stupid idea.