In October 2009, the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest was opened. I happened upon it the day it opened and while exploring, I met the artist, Peter Jacobi.
The memorial is dedicated to the Roma, Jewish and Romanian people who were persecuted during the Holocaust and there are several sections of the memorial to represent the various communities.
There is a main room with light filtered through slats in the roof, creating a disorienting effect, both light and dark at the same time. Names of some of the persecuted line the walls.
A column is topped with symbols from the communities that were persecuted.
The Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering, represents the path Jesus took to the cross, likening it to the path of suffering those persecuted took. In this memorial, it looks like train tracks.
The wheel is the symbol of the Roma people (commonly called Gypsies, although Gypsy is often considered derogatory).
There are Jewish tombstones taken from a nearby desecrated cemetery.
It’s certainly not as large as other Holocaust memorials in Europe, but it was thoughtful and gave attention to different communities that were affected. This is a big step for the Romanian government as they historically denied that the Romanian government had anything to do with the Holocaust or that Romanian Jews were affected by the Holocaust. They finally gave a formal acknowledgement and apology in 2004, 60 years after the tragedy.
Check out my adventures in Romania.