On Sunday, May 7th The Friends of Mount Hope unveiled the Holocaust Monument on Adlington Avenue dedicated to the more than 110 survivors buried at the cemetery. A large crowd of over 200 people represented the greater Jewish community, survivors’ families, the City of Rochester, and officials of the Town of Brighton. Bill Yager, the artist/sculptor who designed and crafted the beautiful monument, incorporated many of the ideas and emotions expressed to him by the FOMH Holocaust Committee whose members are Marcia Birken, Marjorie Searl, Kristine Klein, Pat Corcoran, Nancy Uffindell and Tony Filer. The dedication ceremony was the culmination of two years of work by the Holocaust Committee to identify survivors interred at Mount Hope, record their stories, and raise funds for the monument.
The program for the unveiling and dedication began with a welcome from FOMH President Kristine Klein and included remarks by Deputy Mayor of Rochester Patrick Cunningham, and a proclamation from the City of Rochester read by City Council Member Mitch Gruber. This was followed by the history and purpose of the project told by Co-chairs Marjorie Searl and Marcia Birken, a deeply moving keynote address by Michael Dobkowski, Professor of Religion and Chair of Holocaust Studies at Hobart & William Smith Colleges, as well as prayers and music offered by Rabbi Debbi Till of Temple Sinai and Rabbi Peter Stein and Cantorial Soloist Keri Lopatin Berger of Temple B’rith Kodesh
The Holocaust Committee wishes to thank many people for assistance in creation of this lasting memorial. First, we thank Temple B’rith Kodesh and the City of Rochester for allowing us to use this location along the edge of Range 7. It is ideally situated – adjacent to a Jewish burial section, close enough to the road to be seen while driving and flanked by two large trees which create a border. The Committee also thanks the many FOMH Board members and volunteers, as well as Cemetery Manager, Jarod Terrell, and his team for assisting with preparations, set up, and traffic control for the May 7th ceremony. Additional thanks go to the Rochester Mayor’s Office and City Council Member Mitch Gruber for creating a City Proclamation about the monument that now proudly hangs in the Gatehouse. Most importantly, thanks must be given to the138 individuals, families, donor funds, and organizations who contributed to the monument. The complete list of donors is found in the online Holocaust Archive. Many survivor families expressed their appreciation for the work and dedication of the Holocaust Committee in erecting this lasting memorial, as well as for recording their families’ stories in the FOMH Holocaust Archive.
A generous grant from the William and Sheila Konar Foundation will allow the monument to remain an educational focus for many years to come. One way in which the grant will be used is to create a digitized map of all the Holocaust survivor graves in the cemetery. The grant monies have already been used to complete a self-guided, mobile phone Walk of Holocaust Survivor Graves in Range 10 (the Temple Sinai and Temple Beth El sections by Mount Hope Avenue). This tour and others can be found in the Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tour App which is available for download from the App Store and Google Play. A second Holocaust Walk is being written for the area of survivor graves closest to the monument, in Ranges 7 and 9 (the Temple B’rith Kodesh and Temple Beth El sections near the corner of Adlington Avenue and Oak Avenue).
A partnership between WXXI and the City of Rochester has created a YouTube channel called What’s Good Rochester to highlight positive events in the city, such as the dedication of the Holocaust monument. A video crew from WXXI recorded the May 7th ceremony and interviewed the program participants. View their short, but powerful video on What’s Good Rochester’s YouTube channel.
All photos are by Lisa Cook and are used with permission.