Liberation (Holocaust memorial)
Liberation is a bronze Holocaust memorial created by the sculptor Nathan Rapoport
Nathan Rapoport
Nathan Rapoport , who is also known as Natan Rapoport, was a Jewish sculptor who was born in Warsaw, Poland. His middle name may be rendered in English as either Yaakov or Jacob. In 1936, he won a scholarship to study in France and Italy. He fled to the Soviet Union when the Nazis invaded Poland...

, located in Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park is located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey, opposite the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The park opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations and is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.-Geography and...

 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...

. Officially dedicated on May 30, 1985, the monument portrays an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 soldier, carrying the body of a Holocaust survivor out of a Nazi concentration camp.


This memorial sculpture was commissioned by the State of New Jersey and sponsored by a coalition of veterans organizations. It was strategically located so that it would face the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 and form a "topological triad" that would include Liberation, Liberty Island
Liberty Island
Liberty Island is a small uninhabited island in New York Harbor in the United States, best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty. Though so called since the turn of the century, the name did not become official until 1956. In 1937, by proclamation 2250, President Franklin D...

, and Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

. According to at least one scholar, the inclusion of the monument in this "triad" is to recognize the Holocaust as a "counterpoint" to "American democratic and egalitarian ideals," in the same way the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 serves as counterpoint to the values embodied in other national monuments.

The monument is fifteen feet tall and weighs approximately two tons. It recalls America's self-perception in terms of the role of the U.S. military in the liberation of the camps, and as a refuge for many survivors. The Liberty Park Monument Committee, formed by New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, was tasked with raising funds for a monument "to honor American servicemen as liberators of oppressed peoples." The official State resolution issued on the day of the monument's dedication noted that, "our service members fought, not to conquer or to be aggressors, but rather to rescue and restore freedom to those persecuted and oppressed by the fascist powers."

Department of Defense Holocaust Remembrance Guide

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Guide to Observances for the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust
Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust
The Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust is an annual 8-day period designated by the United States Congress for civic commemorations and special educational programs that help citizens remember and draw lessons from the Holocaust...

 includes a photo of the monument on its cover, and a description of the monument's message on the inside cover:
[Rapoport's] artistic goal was to embody in bronze a daring vision: in the face of sorrow and tragedies, he asserted that hope can triumph despite atrocity.... Liberation depicts an American soldier carrying a survivor out of a concentration camp. The chests of the rescuer and rescued are joined, as if sharing one heart. The way that the survivor's body is cradled in the arms of his liberator reflects comfort and trust. Liberation is a testament to the Americans who liberated the camps, and it is a memorial to those who perished. But it is also a symbol of the strong helping the weak, not persecuting them. It is a vision of one human being supporting another. It is a tribute to the best of America's dreams: freedom, compassion, bravery, and -- above all -- hope.

On April 10, 1988, a copy of the DOD Guide was presented to Governor Kean during a special Holocaust ceremony held at the monument. The book was the idea of U.S. Navy chaplain Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, who spoke at the ceremony and made the presentation. At the ceremony, a copy of the Guide was also presented to General Francis Gerard, a veteran of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and Commander of the New Jersey Department of Defense.

Meaning beyond the Holocaust

Commentators have noted that this monument, although directly linked to the Holocaust as an historical event, has taken on larger meaning as a reminder of America's positive role in the world. Governor Kean's speech at the monument's dedication sought to "resist the skepticism about America's place in the world," as he proclaimed that the monument affirmed his "American heritage" and caused him to feel "deep pride in his American values." "The monument says that we," he continued, "as a collective people, stand for freedom. We, as Americans, are not oppressors, and we, as Americans, do not engage in armed conflict for the purpose of conquest. Our role in the world is to preserve that precious, precious thing that we consider to be a free democracy. Today we will remember those who gave their lives for freedom."

External links

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