Artist and engineer Daan Roosegaarde is to create a memorial to the 104,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The national committee responsible for organising the May 4 and 5 commemorations commissioned Roosegaarde to design 104,000 light-emitting stones, which will be placed by municipalities to represent people who were deported from their community.
The committee said the design of the monument, known as Levenslicht (Light of Life), reflected the symbolic importance of stones in Jewish, Roma and Sinti culture, the three main ethnic groups that were singled out by the Nazis for mass slaughter.
‘It is an honour to be chosen for this project and to make a public work of art about the Holocaust,’ said Roosegaarde. ‘It is not a traditional static monument which people merely observe. This temporary artwork invites participation: you are part of the story.’
The memorial will first be exhibited in Rotterdam, where it will form a single work of art some 20 metres in diameter. The stones will then be spread across the participating councils.
The committee said it was up to local councils to decide where the stones should be placed, but recommended a ‘dark place without direct light sources in the vicinity (such as street lights)’. Each municipality has been asked to contribute €2,000 towards production and distribution costs.
The memorial will be unveiled on 27 January next year, exactly 75 years after the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops and the date chosen as International Holocaust Memorial Day.
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