This article was originally published on JewishMiami.org for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
For more than a quarter century, the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, a Committee of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, has been welcoming hundreds of thousands of students and visitors from all over the world each year to bear witness to the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Now, a first-of-its-kind app is bringing history to small screens through survivor testimony, historical video footage, timelines, interactive maps and archival photographs.
“The app takes the Memorial, one of Miami’s most iconic monuments, into the 21st century, and provides a more integrated view of the Holocaust as a historical event and demonstrates how easy it is for society to fall into that kind of pattern of genocide,” said Andrew C. Hall, Chair of the Holocaust Memorial.
There is an acute awareness that the current generation is the last to have the opportunity to hear firsthand testimony of the atrocities committed against Jews by the Nazis. The app provides a means to keep alive the memory of Miami’s cherished survivors not just for the next generation, and for countless generations yet to come.
The app and website were developed with support from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the Heckscher Foundation for Children.
The app, which has been translated from English into Spanish, French, Creole, Hebrew, German and Russian, can be downloaded and viewed from anywhere in the world; however, it is designed to be used as an on-site guide to the Memorial. The main section, “The Survivor’s Journey,” features narratives from nine Holocaust survivors who settled in the Greater Miami area after World War II. Their stories begin before the war and describe the richness of Jewish life in European communities, continue with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, detail the horrors of life in various Jewish ghettoes and concentration camps, and conclude with their eventual liberation, repatriation in the United States and shared resolve to stand against genocide.
A second section, “The Sculptor’s Tour” portion of the app guides visitors through the outdoor landmark, which comprises several sculptures and granite paneled hallways that tell the history of the Holocaust and display the names of its victims. The Sculptor’s Tour describes the inspirations, images and symbolism of specific features.
Additionally, a 150-page Teacher’s Guide has been written to maximize the impact of the app as a classroom tool in conjunction with educational field trips to the Memorial. The app is available for download on iOS and Android devices. A companion website with content identical to the app’s can be viewed on a tablet or computer at HolocaustMemorialMiamiBeach.org.
The Holocaust Memorial is located at 1933-1945 Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit HolocaustMemorialMiamiBeach.org, or call 305.538.1663.