Memorial To The 6 Million  


Name: Memorial To The 6 Million
Medium: Bronze
Date Made: 1959
Dimensions: 6.5m high
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The most impressive of any of the memorials to the Holocaust in South Africa, Monument to the Six Million was also a significant feat of bronze casting and engineering.  It was dedicated on the 10th of May 1959 by Rabbi M. Neurock, a member of the Israeli Knesset who travelled to Johannesburg for the occasion. Herman Wald articulated the symbolic intentions behind his design in a letter to London’s Studio Magazine as follows:

This monument depicts six mighty bronze fists, each five feet high, bursting out of the ground as a protest of the dead, each fist representing one million Jews who perished under Hitler, and each gripping a ram’s horn, the Jewish ritual trumpet, standing twenty feet high. In pairs they create three arches; the arches of trials and tribulations that the Jewish people have all gone through during all the generations of persecution. In the centre there is a flame-shaped Eternal Light, spiralling fifteen feet up. Through the ram’s horns the Dead are blasting out the Sixth Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not kill!’, while the centre eternal light is stylized through the medium of the Hebrew lettering, to form a flame which spells in Hebrew ‘Lo Tirtzach’ (thou Shalt Not Kill)’. 
In 1977 enquiries about erecting a replica of the monument were received from Cleveland, Ohio, but nothing further materialised. Monument to the Six Million has become an iconic landmark for the Jewish community in South Africa. Each year the Holocaust remembrance ceremony attracts a very large crowd, with the base serving as the platform for the speakers and the choir.  Wald and his wife Vera lie buried next to the monument, according to the artist’s last wishes.

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