Interior of the Jewish Memorial

Marble shaft has Menorah on top outside the memorial

Both the Catholic Church of the Mortal Agony of Christ and the Protestant Church of Reconciliation at the Dachau Memorial Site are functioning places of worship where the Mass is celebrated and Communion is given in regular church services. However, the Jewish Memorial is not a synagogue or temple where religious services are held. It is a place of remembrance and prayer in honor of the Jews who died at Dachau.

The interior of the Jewish Memorial is six feet below ground, the depth of a grave. After descending into this tomb-like room, one can look up through an opening in the roof at the far end and see the Menorah on the top of the building. According to the architect, this symbolizes liberation and hope. The photograph above shows the interior which is about 27 feet high at the end where the hole opens to the sky. The gold-colored shaft on the back wall is made from marble taken from Peki'in in Israel, where it is said that at least one Jew has lived since Biblical times.

The photograph below shows the interior wall of the Memorial on the right hand side with a plaque whose inscription in Hebrew reads "Monument of warning to commemorate the Jewish martyrs who died in the years of the National Socialist rule of terror 1933 - 1945. Their death is a warning and obligation for us. Erected by the Regional Association of Israelite Cultural Communities in Bavaria in the year 1966/67." The small objects embedded in wall are candle holders. There are 70 of them, representing the 70 elders of Moses.

Some of the 70 candle holders on the interior wall

On my first visit to the Dachau Memorial Site in May 1997, there were candles, wreaths and flowers everywhere, including many that were left at the Jewish Memorial, as shown in the photograph below. On my second visit in May 2001, there was not a candle or flower in sight, not at any of the religious memorials, nor at the crematoria. On my 2001 visit, the Memorial Site was crowded with school groups, one arriving every 15 minutes, but they weren't bringing any candles or flowers to honor the victims at Dachau.

The black marble symbolic lectern on the wall in the photograph below has the word "Yiskor" in Hebrew, which means Remember.

Symbolic lectern engraved with the word Yiskor

The International Monument

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