The Baltimore Holocaust Memorial is located at the intersection of Lombard and Gay Streets, two blocks from the Inner Harbor attractions. A concrete marker (shown at top) is located at the intersection, easily visible to motorists and pedestrians.

In the front center sits the Joseph Sheppard Holocaust Sculpture. The statue depicts the horror of the Holocaust by portraying emaciated bodies of the victims’ bodies contorted in a ball of flame. The base of the sculpture bears the quote from George Santayana:

Those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it.

The center plaza of the site is a large concrete triangle. The form represents the shape of the badge that the holocaust victims were required to wear. Two yellow triangles, one lying over the other, identified an individual as a Jew. The Holocaust Sculpture stands at the apex of the triangle. A raised triangular memorial plaque stands just behind the sculpture. The plaque contains an inscription prepared by Holocaust author Dr. Deborah Lipstadt:


The German attempt to annihilate European Jewry between 1933 and 1945, took the lives of six million Jews. Although genocide was not unprecedented, the Holocaust was unique not just in its numerical magnitude. Never before had a state government attempted to annihilate an entire people who were not military enemies but a defenseless civilian population. Gypsies and German handicapped were marked for death as part of the holocaust. Nazi Germany tyrannized homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, Polish nationalists and resistance fighters. Millions died as a result.

Elected by the German people in 1933, the Nazi party quickly instituted a totalitarian regime built on pseudo-scientific racial and anti-Semitic principals. The German people ardently supported the Nazi regime until the latter stages of World War II, when defeat was imminent. Hundreds of thousands of German citizens and nationals of other countries allied with the Germans were involved in the killing process either as guards at camps, members of mobile killing units, architects who designed gas chambers, engineers who built crematoria, railway personnel and bureaucrats who oversaw the distribution of the victims possessions’ including the gold in their teeth. Although many perpetrators claimed they had no choice, there is no record of anyone being punished for refusing to participate in the killings.

Though the Holocaust occurred as part of World Was II, it was in fact something distinct. Its objectives often directly impeded the military effort. Trains, materiel, soldiers and munitions needed for the war were used instead to deport Jews and kill death camp inmates. During the last twelve months of the war, when it was obvious that Germany was going down to defeat, the pace of killing continued and in certain cases increased in intensity.

Many countries and neutral international agencies were aware of what was being done to Jews and other victims. Few, if any, were willing to speak out in protest. To compound the horror, most countries closed their doors to those who tried to escape the Holocaust.

More Info
Deborah E. Lipstadt
Dorot Professor of Modern
Jewish and Holocaust Studies
Emory University

On each side of the walkway triangle are 1940 vintage railroad tracks symbolizing the railway system that transported millions of Holocaust victims to the concentration camps. Ornamental grasses are planted between the tracks to represent an abandoned rail yard.

Lamp posts representative of rail stations in the 1940s line the plaza. At the end of the plaza are two massive, cantilevered concrete blocks, each 80 feet long and 19 feet high that symbolize railway boxcars. There are steel wedges, at each end, that imply locomotive cowcatchers. The metal grates, in the center, represent the boxcar sides.

Words of Holocaust survivor and author Primo Levi, from his autobiography Survival in Auschwitz, are inscribed on the sides of the concrete blocks.

A black fence that evokes the aura of a concentration camp
surrounds the grassy space behind the monolith.

The Baltimore Jewish Council is the community relations and political arm of
THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
It represents Greater Baltimore area Jewish organizations and
congregations on social, political and humanitarian issues that affect
Jews and the quality of life locally, nationally and worldwide.

Phone 410-542-4850