Final piece of Holocaust Memorial recognizes youngest victims
NASHUA — The final piece of New Hampshire’s Holocaust Memorial has been installed — a five-ton sculpture depicting the smallest victims of the Nazi regime.
About 1.5 million children, including a million Jewish youngsters, were tortured and murdered at Nazi extermination camps, according to Fred Teeboom, a former Nashua alderman and one of the founders of the New Hampshire Holocaust Memorial that opened two years ago.
The memorial has since evolved, and is now complete with its last installation of a granite sculpture titled Child Victim in Auschwitz.
“What I see when I look at this sculpture is a gate. I see an angel standing in the gate,” said Teeboom, referring to the large, seven-feet high sculpture that weighs about 11,000 pounds.
The sculpture was spearheaded by Teeboom, who found a photograph last year of a little girl standing next to other children in a holding area for the gas chamber.
The photo was believed to have been taken in 1944 when 424,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz — one of six Nazi extermination camps in Europe.
“She looks directly at the (photographer) with an expression of anxiety and anguish,” said Teeboom. “A light shines directly on her.”
With everyone else nearby wearing black, the little girl stood out in the crowd wearing a white coat, he said, adding that was the inspiration for the newest sculpture at the memorial site at Rotary Common Park along Main Street.
Teeboom connected with artist Joseph Gray of Gilford, who offered to sculpt the new structure as a memorial to the young victims of the Holocaust.
The granite used for the sculpture was found in a quarry in Hooksett, and took about eight months to design, carve and complete.
Teeboom, a Holocaust survivor who was hidden from 1940-1945 during the height of the Nazi regime, said the last and final sculpture remembering the innocent child victims is an appropriate way to complete the New Hampshire Holocaust Memorial.
With small tears trickling down the child’s face, along with a natural colorization in the granite depicting a streak of lightning, Teeboom said the sculpture is fitting and respectful, and a necessary piece to make the memorial site whole.
The entire memorial park consists of six 11,000-pound granite walls that are set onto a concrete hexagon 28 feet in diameter. Each of the walls is engraved with the name of an extermination camp: Sobibor, Chelmno, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek and Belzek.
About 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust, which included approximately 6 million Jews. The Nazis were responsible for killing about two-thirds of the Jewish population living in Europe from 1933 to 1945.
“The objective was to wipe out the entire Jewish race. The world is now more aware of the evil of genocide,” said Teeboom. “Even today — just last year — antisemitism was evident in France, and to a lesser degree in England. Has the world learned? You will not likely see mass genocide again, but I believe genocide can happen here in the United States, just not to this scale.”