So that they are not forgotten
The plan was to create a monument to remember the Jews from The Hague who were deported and murdered during the Second World War and to keep the memory of Jewish The Hague alive.
At the time, there was no worthy memorial in The Hague where this suffering could be reflected on in peace. Although there was a monument in the form of a Star of David on a wall in the Gedempte Gracht (the so-called Amalek monument), this was in a busy shopping street and therefore did not fulfil the wish and need for somewhere for peaceful contemplation.
For that reason, it was decided to incorporate the existing Amalek monument in the design. This monument was on the Gedempte Gracht and was installed by Stichting Levi Lassen in 1967.
‘The different elements – Door ajar, oval seats, the cases and lighting installations, have a mutual significance towards each other; they create a dialogue as it were and complement each other. The experience of the visitor is enhanced because the elements are not too familiar or too obvious icons, but summon questions and admiration and thus affect unconscious regions too.’
In the middle of a three-part wall, a surrealistic door is ajar. The Amalek sculpture is installed here. A light shines through the crack in the door. The light suggests that an opening and passage is possible but if you look for the opening, it appears to be closed. In particular, the crack in the wall is intriguing with the falling light because it emphasises what could have been and what is not. In this case, a possible escape which would have been vain hope for most people living here.
The cases symbolise the deportation – the sudden forced, hasty departure. It is a metaphor for the brutal termination of a rich and dynamic culture. The anonymity ensures universal engagement. The cases are placed in essential and significant places and thus create a powerful and dynamic connection over the square. These cases are illuminated from underneath which creates a sense of quiet as you pass by.
Six oval elements
Each stone has a relief sculpture on both sides showing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In this composition, an atmosphere of intimacy is created, which reinforces the commemoration. The authenticity of the symbols supports the recovery of the lost identity. The stones are turned both to the square and to the ‘door ajar’.
The six oval stones and the twelve reliefs together form eighteen elements. In Judaism, eighteen is the magical number that in letters forms the symbol Chai.
In Hebrew, Chai means – LIFE
Design and implementation
Anat Ratzabi © 2014 All rights reserved