Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam today symbolically drove the first pile into the ground to mark the start of construction of the National Holocaust Memorial of Names. She did that together with Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee.
Remarkable memorial soon a reality
A small group of individuals closely involved were in attendance to witness this special event. “This is a real milestone,” commented a delighted Jacques Grishaver during his short speech. Owing to the corona situation, the event took the form of a simple gathering. “After a lengthy period of preparation, the moment has finally arrived,” added Jacques. “Soon this will be the site of a truly remarkable memorial, important for all surviving relatives, and a stark warning to present and future generations about where anti-Semitism and racism can lead.”
The first of 87 piles
The symbolic first pile is one of 79 piles that will support the memorial. Another 8 piles will be screwed into the ground to provide a base for the crane that will lift the steel members onto the memorial. These members weigh over 30,000 kilograms per letter, which is why such a huge crane is required. Assembling the crane alone will take two days!
The bricks for the memorial, impervious street clinkers, are supplied free of charge by the firm of Rodruza from Nijmegen. Architect Daniel Libeskind has determined the colour of the bricks. The construction team for the memorial includes a brick expert, who will see to it that the right bricks are used.
Artist's impression of the centre of the memorial in the evening
Lasering the names onto the bricks — each brick will include the name, date of birth and age — will take 5.5 months. This work will start soon. One of the most critical aspects of the construction process will be to hand the bricks to the masons in the right order. After all, the alphabet starts at the top-right, while the masons start at the bottom-left.
Artist's impression showing how the bricks with the names are stacked on top of one another
42 bricks tall
The brick walls are 42 bricks tall, stacked in vertical columns, one above another. More than 25,000 extra bricks have been fired. They will be used if the names of victims turn out to be incomplete or if new names come to light. Existing bricks will then be replaced by bricks bearing the right information. If they concern new names they will be added to a special wall built of 1,000 blank bricks.
Artist’s impression of the Names Memorial seen from above, with the letters of steel that read 'In memory of'
The pile-driving continues until mid-July. Bricklaying for the first letter is planned for September, with construction proceeding letter by letter. The steel structure will be placed on the first letter in late October or early November. The memorial will be completed in mid-2021.
You can make a financial contribution by
adopting names or donating through the website.
latest news about the construction process (in Dutch) and a
livestream view of the construction site.
Everyone can help realize the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names. Please find out what way of donating suits you the best.