WARSAW GHETTO REMEMBRANCE GARDEN
Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden
In 1940, more than 350,000 Jews were forcibly exiled by German soldiers to a small area within the Polish city of Warsaw, enclosed by 10-foot walls topped with barbed wire and broken glass. This area became known as the Warsaw Ghetto.
The nation’s largest collection of stones that once paved the streets of the notorious district are now located at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas where they are part of a beautiful, peaceful garden called the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden and dedicated to the occupants of the infamous World War II enclave.
The Garden is the culmination of a two and a half year-year project that began when a Temple Beth Sholom congregant learned that his former synagogue in Virginia had in its garden a number of stones taken from the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Temple Beth Sholom Rabbi Felipe Goodman soon became involved and learned that the paving stones were only available through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. An agreement was reached and some of the stones not used in the Holocaust Museum exhibit were sent to Las Vegas. Since Goodman only expected a few dozen stones at most, he was shocked when the Temple received more than 200– each about 4 by 6 inches–that were once part of Chlodna Street, one of the main streets leading into the Ghetto.
This is a detail view of the Lantern in the Remembrance GardenThe 200-plus street stones now hang in rows on five separate panels separated by open-flame torches and steel-wall fountains. In the center of the circular garden is a map, also carved out of stone, of the Warsaw ghetto. The stone on the outside walls of the garden is from Jerusalem, vivid symbolism of Jewish past and future back-to-back.
Lending a bitter sweet note to the garden is the music that wafts from a hidden sound system. Included among the pieces: recordings by Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose autobiographical experiences in wartime Warsaw were the basis of the film “The Pianist.”
“Our original idea was to create a small place where you could go and sit down and reflect,” Goodman explained. “We don’t think of the stones by themselves as anything else but stones, but they are witness to the brutality human beings can do and they’re witness to the incredible resilience and spirit of the Jewish people.”
The Garden is intended to benefit all Southern Nevadans, said Goodman, and is "must-see" for tourists.
Visits can be arranged by calling Temple Beth Sholom at (702) 804-1333 x 100. We welcome tours of the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden by appointment.