Courtesy: John Kinkade
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Desert Holocaust Memorial

Palm Desert, California

Dee Clements (

Civic Center Park, Fred Waring Dr & San Pascual Ave., Palm Desert, California, 92260
Also known as:  The Palm Desert Holocaust Memorial
Designer:  John W. Kinkade (
Date:  1994, 1995
Placement:  parks (grounds)
Collection:  Desert Holocaust Committee
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  bronze (metal), granite (rock), stone (rock), concrete
Description:  The Holocaust Memorial is a place of remembrance. The entrance to the memorial is cobblestone with light standards. The cobblestone and light standards are replicas of those at Auschwitz. You walk through a narrow series of six of these posts which opens into a circular plaza where a central free-standing multi-figured sculptural element is placed. The central group is surrounded by border posts that are replicas of the electrified fences used in the concentration camps. Between these posts are eleven reliefs depicting the pictorial history of the Holocaust. Beyond the plaza are a circular row of trees. These trees represent life outside of the enclosed fence of the concentration camps.This memorial includes extensive provisions for educating people of all ages, races, and religions about the period of the Holocaust. It is a lesson about denial of basic civil rights. The monument memorializes lost parents, children, loved ones, and millions of innocent people. It is a place of respect, of respite, of mourning and of remembrance. It is also a monument of hope -- hope that we can overcome bigotry and live amongst diversity in peace.

Between each of the initial posts are granite panels inscribed with information. One panel begins with "Holocaust Memorial of the Desert", "Dedicated on April 30th, 1995" and includes the names of Founders, Benefactors and Sponsors, three panels are "Fellows", one has "The Promise" by Shirley Greif, and four are "Memorial Wall" including one "in memory of Joe Brandt, founder of the Desert Holocaust Memorial.

At the entry to the memorial is a bronze plaque which gives a chronology of the systematic deprivation by law of the civil rights, jobs, property and life of "non-Aryans" by the Nazi party. Inside the history pedestal is buried an urn containing the verified names of 12,000 Righteous Gentiles who hid or assisted those condemned by Nazi regime during the years of the Holocaust.

The front reads:"He who saves one lifesaves the world"The names of more than 12,000"Righteous Gentiles"Are embodied within this pedestal."May their deedsNever be forgotten"

The back (to be seen when leaving) reads:“I have told you this storyNot to weaken youbut to strengthen younow it is up to you‘Never Again’”

Between the border posts in the circular plaza are eleven bas reliefs telling the story of the Holocaust. A plaque located adjacent to each relief details the specific scene represented.

. The relief panels are:Warsaw Ghetto Uprising"Let us not go to slaughter like sheep!" It is true that we are weak and we have nobody to help us. But our only dignified answer to the enemy must be resistance. After the fall of the ghetto the surviving Jews were executed or taken to Auschwitz.

Mass ExecutionThe relief shows an execution that took place in such locations as Babiyar, Rudki, and other places. There were open air shootings where thousands were shot down into long trenches some were buried alive.

The TransportationJewish communities unaware of their fate were taken from the ghettos by the Nazis and transported in boxcars without sanitation and little food, water or ventilation. The relief shows a train unloading at Auschwitz.

The SelectionThe relief shows a line of newly arrived transport of men, women and children as Dr. Mengele (The Angel of Death) selects who shall live and who shall die.

The CrematoriumAfter finding disposal of thousands of bodies through open fires inefficient, the latest technology was incorporated by the SS as they installed crematoriums in many existing concentration camps.

Gas ChamberThe mass killings of Jews with Zyklon B Gas began in the spring of 1942 at gas chambers in many camps disguised as shower rooms. The gas chambers lured hundreds of thousands to their deaths.

Sleeping QuartersIn some camps the wooden barracks that were built to hold forty-eight horses housed more than eight hundred humans. The relief comes from photos from Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald.

Children of the Holocaust1,600,000 children perished in the holocaust. Some children especially twins were used for medical experimentation.

Working ConditionsThose surviving selections were kept in the camps to starve or perish in the Nazi plan of "extermination through work". The relief comes from a photo taken by the SS at Auschwitz in 1942.

Death MarchesDuring the winter of 1944-45 there were marches from camp to camp as Allied Armies approached. Some death marches covered hundreds of miles with little or no food or water. Those who paused, fell behind or stepped out of the line were shot.

Liberation"The things I saw beggar description""I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things, the visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick"Gen. Dwight D. EisenhowerSupreme Commander, Allied Forces in Europe.

At the heart of the memorial is a granite tiered Star of David with seven larger than life bronze figures representing the people and different aspects of the Holocaust. The figures are mounted on a double-tiered Star of David 20 feet across. The block granite is etched with a map of Europe marking 19 death and slave camps as well as the number of persons who perished.

Five sculpted compositions depict the following:"Boy from the Ghetto" In a state of despair after being separated from his parents and forced to the transportation and taken to Auschwitz."Mother with Children" Begging for her children's lives as an SS soldier's finger squeezes the trigger of his rifle because she would not let go of the children."A Rabbi" Praying over dead bodies as SS soldier's ridicule him. He did not survive."The Dying Man" Alone, silent, dying, his death represents the reality of bigotry, ignorance and hatred that has taken him to its inevitable end. He represents the 11,000,000 people who died in The Holocaust, Jews, Christians, Gypsies, mentally ill, physically handicapped, homosexual and many others, that were killed in the name of Nazism and the sickness it stood for."The Defiant Man" The accusing man! He stands tall, he survived the monstrosity of many concentration camps. He wears the number "A-17874" tattooed on his left arm in Auschwitz death camp. He is to teach, testify and to remind the world ‘Never Again!’. He in part represents the resistance of the Jews and others that fought the Nazi tyranny. (Note the left forearm on this man bears the number tattooed on a local Holocaust survivor.)

About the artists:Sculptor Dee Clements has a masters degree in sculpture and is a Fellow of the National Sculptors’ Guild. He has had works commissioned by the McDonald's Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Inc. and Marriot Ownership Resorts. He has had many pieces placed in both public and private collections.Clements said: “Creating my first sculpture out of clay I felt I had found my passion and this has continued to be a main thread in my life. Early in my career I enjoyed doing abstract sculpture, but I have always drawn the human figure. Today my direction in sculpture has become the study of anatomy to be used as a tool to capture through the face and figure the spiritual essence of the individual . Each memorial placement I have had the privilege to create have been a significant for me both personally and a highlight for my contributions as an artist.”

Designer John Kinkade As the founder and Executive Director of the National Sculptors’ Guild [NSG] at Columbine Gallery, and Principal/Co-Owner of JK Designs, Inc., John has designed and implemented the installation of over 400 public placements across the country in 20 years. He has also consulted on numerous public and private outdoor sculpture gardens and Master Plans, including the Skagway Sculpture & Flower Garden in Skagway, Alaska; and the Cerritos Public Sculpture Park in California. John was named one of the 40Most Prominent People in the Arts by Southwest Art Magazine in May, 2011. JK Designs’ Principal, John Kinkade, founded the National Sculptors’ Guild in 1992 with a handful of sculptors who wished to find thoughtful public applications for their work.

For More Information Contact theJEWISH FEDERATION OF PALM SPRINGSPhone: 760.324.4737DESERT HOLOCAUST MEMORIALPO Box 11915, Palm Desert, CA 92255

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