An illustration of the National Holocaust Monument by Studio Libeskind.

Canada Inaugurates First National Holocaust Memorial

Canada’s first-ever National Holocaust Monument has opened its doors today, writes Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper. The memorial, unveiled in Ottawa, was a collaborative effort between architect Daniel Libeskind, Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier, photographer Edward Burtynsky, and Doris Bergman, a Holocaust expert at the University of Toronto. The monument was ten years in the making. A campaign to create the work was started in 2007 by a student at the University of Ottawa, Laura Grossman. The Canadian government and the National Holocaust Monument Development Council provided funding for the memorial, which cost $7.25 million.

The outdoor memorial, which occupies more than 34,000 square feet, is built in the shape of a distorted Star of David, and can hold up to one thousand visitors for civic ceremonies. It is made up of six metal and concrete walls, with forty-foot-high pictures taken by Burtynsky of European Holocaust sites. The photos are set into the monument’s concrete sections.

The memorial has been built around three principles: that the Holocaust was a state-sponsored mass extermination; that Canada, like numerous other countries, did not provide asylum to those who were being victimized by the Nazis; and that the 40,000 survivors of the genocide who came to Canada after World War II made enormous contributions to the country.