Barney Zeitz's intention in creating this sculpture was to symbolize a rebirth of the Jewish nation by its very survival through the Holocaust experience. The six steel beams, rooted in the Star of David, vault up 12 feet where they transform to animal, angelic, and leaflike shapes. This heroic movement must pass through a series of heavy, angular, and fistlike forms that manipulate large shields away from the main column.
The shields alone suggest the human torso with yellow stars of David, a prayer shawl with Hebrew along the collar, or armor, appearing first protective, yet made vulnerable by the piercings through, revealing the frailty of the material, and the powerful structures behind.
Although these structures behind take the form of a swastika, they do not complete their circle or enter the interior of the trunk. This space is left empty for the Tree of Jewish Life in Eastern Europe was emptied. There is both a sad and sacred quality to this part of the sculpture, because what is left, the massive star and columns, is the foundation for everything that takes place above. And finally, the use of words, always an important part of Jewish life, asks each viewer to remember: the camps, a prayer, a vow. Zeitz hopes that this sculpure allows the viewer to feel his own interpretation and does not overly simplify the questions of how or why.
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12 feet tall
Steel and Bronze
The Holocaust Memorial in Providence, R.I. is 12' tall fabricated from steel, and bronze.
Detail of star on one of the shields
This view is at the level when approaching the memorial from the garden outside the memorial museum.
As one approached the memorial the shields and iron structures behind become more evident as well as the lettering on the shields.
As the viewer approaches the memorial, the shapes of the shields and iron structures move the vision up to the bird, winglike, and angelic forms in a feeling of rebirth.
Each Shield has a Star of David cut through the plate. Bronze is used to partially fill the Star, with small holes that glimmer with light as one walks by