ALEXANDRIA, LA — The Alexandria Holocaust Memorial is finished, however its purpose lives on.
The Memorial offers a place for locals and visitors to contemplate the tragic loss of human life that has occurred during our history. The 18 foot black marble obelisk and surrounding park was built to honor and remember the six million Jews and non-Jewish victims who were killed in the Holocaust.
The height of the obelisk is significant and holds meaning as the number 18 has an almost mystical significance in the Jewish tradition and the Hebrew letters for 18 mean LIFE and is used often at happy occasions celebrating important events.
A Dedication Ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 10, at the Memorial site and a Service of Remembrance immediately following at Emmanuel Baptist Church. The dedication and service coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the Kristallnacht attacks by Nazis against Jews in Germany and Austria.
The Alexandria Holocaust Memorial site is located in Holocaust Memorial Park at the corner of Fourth Street and Elliott Street in downtown Alexandria.
The site for this memorial was dedicated following the community Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration on April 29, 2013.
It is appropriate for this Holocaust Memorial to be located in Alexandria, because Central Louisiana played an essential role in preparing American troops for their participation in World War II as facilities at Camp Beauregard and the surrounding camps of Livingston, Claiborne, and Polk plus the Alexandria Air Base were used for extensive training.
In addition, the series of Louisiana Maneuvers conducted in the area during 1940-43 allowed Army planners to encounter many of the difficulties experienced during combat and to solve many of those problems before their troops were exposed to danger on the battlefields of Europe or in the jungles of the South Pacific.
Troops who trained here during the Louisiana Maneuvers helped to bring an end to the Holocaust. They were among those who had liberated the Nazi concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald, as well as Bergen-Belsen where Anne Frank had died as a prisoner one month before their arrival.
Military leaders including Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Omar Bradley, and others obtained valuable command experience in the region. Many of them conducted important planning sessions while staying at the Hotel Bentley, a historic site in downtown Alexandria only blocks away from the location of the Memorial.
The Memorial was constructed entirely through donations from private individuals, corporations, and institutions, and will be maintained by the City of Alexandria. No admission fee will be charged for the memorial.
Contributions to the Alexandria Holocaust Memorial Fund can be mailed to PO Box 66, Alexandria, La. 71309. For more information please call (318) 445-7702.