The Holocaust Memorial is an unexpected find in Miami’s South Beach

Surprisingly, there’s a Holocaust Memorial in South Beach, Miami, and it might be the most depressing place I’ve ever visited. Sobering and reflective, it’s a far cry from the party atmosphere just blocks away on the beaches of South Beach.

The gloomy atmosphere is intentional. When you’re telling the story about a horrific part of human history, you can either sanitize it to make it more appealing to the masses, or you can present the awful truth uncensored. This memorial obviously chose the latter line of thinking.

holocaust statue

The first sculpture visitors encounter depicts a mother holding her two frightened children, who are weeping uncontrollably. This statue is downright cheerful compared to what’s still to come.

The Arbor of History is a tunnel made of Jerusalem stone columns with granite slabs that have been etched with drawings, photos, words, and other reminders of the Holocaust.

arbor of history

The centerpiece of the grounds is a hand reaching skyward, surrounded by a 200-foot diameter lily pond. It’s called the Sculpture of Love and Anguish.

holocaust memorial hand

Upon closer inspection, the hand is surrounded by dozens of emaciated naked bodies, some choking themselves, some helplessly crying out for assistance. There’s a lot more anguish than love. These are the faces of death.

holocaust miami faces

memorial child face

The Holocaust was one of the most horrifying events in modern history, and the Holocaust Memorial in Miami obviously doesn’t want anyone to forget just how awful it was. If you’d like to see it, head to Meridian Ave. between 19th Street and Dade Blvd. Admission is free and the memorial is open everyday from 9 am to sunset.

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About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Looking for a hotel? I always recommend Booking.com where you can easily compare hotel rooms, prices, and availability. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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10 Comments

  1. I remember seeing this in 2007, reading the names on the walls was really sad, and I was bawling by the time we had made our way around the whole thing. It was a bit of a shock to see after the laid-backness of miami, but I’m definitely glad we stopped to take a look.

  2. I knew about the hand, I didn’t know it was an entire area. I had been to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and to the Holocaust Memorial in Boston and each of them gave me goosebumps…. even though I’ve heard stories of the holocaust almost every single year of my life on Holocaust Memorial Day ever since I can remember.

  3. We were equally surprised to stumble across this on a recent visit to South Beach. I agree that it is in STARK contrast to the rest of SoBe. I guess there is a large Jewish community in Fort Lauderdale / Miami area – not that people of all backgrounds don’t all share in the responsibility of keeping that memory alive.

    1. I did see a Jewish community center near where I stayed and I think that’s the group that put this together.

  4. Haunting. Interesting that Miami would have a Holocaust memorial – not sure of the connection there. But then again, too many memorials for remembrance is never a bad thing.

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