Emek Sholom

On November 11, 2018, organizers at Emek Sholom Holocaust Cemetery in Forest Lawn held their annual commemoration, this year marking the 80th anniversary of Germany’s Kristallnacht. Emek Sholom translates as “valley of peace,” and the memorial was unveiled in 1955 by relatives of those who perished during the Holocaust. It is among the earliest such memorials raised in the United States. As difficult as such annual gatherings here are, they were made especially so this year in the wake of the shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018. The shooter was motivated by anti-Semitism, and he took the lives of eleven people at worship. Observers have connected it with the newly visible neo-Nazis who paraded through Charlottesville in 2017. At Emek Sholom’s ceremony the following month, visitors saw eleven candles raised on the memorial’s wall of names, all of whom had died “as victims of their faith.” Historian Alexandra Zapruder delivered an address attended by a crowd which included several state lawmakers and representatives from other faiths. The cemetery offers a rare space to knit these connections and process the tragedies publicly.

See Michael Martz’s stories on the commemoration in the Richmond Times-Dispatch here and here.

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