Kol Israel memorial

The unveiling of Kol Israel's Holocaust memorial in 1959. 

Ohio Reps. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, and Juanita Brent, D-Cleveland, introduced a concurrent resolution last week to urge Congress to recognize the Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial in Bedford Heights as a National Memorial.

The memorial is in Zion Memorial Park and is believed to be the first memorial constructed in the United States dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

“As a Jewish Ohioan, these physical memorials to the Holocaust are more important now than ever,” Weinstein said in a news release. “With hate crimes on the rise in Ohio, they serve as a reminder that we must all work to fight hatred and bigotry in every form. I am proud that this resolution has received bipartisan support and that we are able to ask for the national recognition this marker deserves.”

Brent said in the release, “The recognition of Kol Israel Foundation Memorial as the first national memorial to acknowledge the genocide of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust and the trauma of survivors is long overdue. Our country must educate and acknowledge this tragic part of history to make sure systemic changes protect and prevent those atrocities from ever happening again. The significance of this site certainly makes it worthy of being designated a National Memorial.”

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Charlie Gruenspan leads a prayer during the 60th anniversary of the Kol Israel Holocaust Memorial dedication Sept. 12 at Zion Memorial Park in Bedford Heights. In the foreground, Jewish War Veteran Ron Meyers holds a flag.

This year marks the monument’s 60th anniversary. Kol Israel Foundation built the memorial in 1961, and it consists of a granite monument and low granite walls with the names of Jewish victims and departed survivors engraved. Beneath the monument, ashes recovered from three concentration camps are buried, along with other artifacts. This memorial would be the first Holocaust-related monument designated as a National Historic Site or National Memorial.

This resolution has already received bipartisan support. The resolution awaits a bill number and assignment to a House Committee.

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