Rotterdam unveils glowing Holocaust memorial to mark Auschwitz liberation

A monument consisting of 104,000 glowing blue stones was unveiled in Rotterdam yesterday to commemorate the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis’ extermination camp at Auschwitz in Poland.

Designed by Studio Roosegaarde, the monument has stones infused with fluorescent pigments that light up under a pulsing ultraviolet light, with each stone representing one of the approximately 104,000 people from the Netherlands – Jews, Roma and Sinti – who were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz from the site in Rotterdam on the banks of the Maas river.

Called "Levenslicht", or "life light", the monument is designed to remind the country that the victims, who lived throughout the Netherlands, were locals and neighbours, said Studio Roosegaarde.

Stones, more than flowers, are used in the Jewish memorial tradition and in Roma and Sinti culture.

The stones are infused with fluorescent pigments that light up under a pulsing ultraviolet light (Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde)

27 January this year is the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet troops.

From 22 January, the monument can be visited in 170 Dutch municipalities with a Holocaust past.

Gerdi Verbeet, chairman of the National Committee, said: "Seventy-five years of freedom cannot be celebrated without dwelling on the most black page of the Second World War: the Holocaust.

"This unique project lets people in their own neighborhood reflect on the horrors of the past, in a local and personal way. It is special to see how municipalities fill in and supplement this in their own way, with a speaker or with reading names."

Top image: The memorial is located on the site from where Jews, Roma and Sinti were deported to Auschwitz (Courtesy of  Studio Roosegaarde)

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