Since 2002, when Rabbi Gordon Geller first got the idea from Ed Colanzi, an Atlantic City official and World War II veteran, to build a holocaust memorial, he envisioned that the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial (ACBHM) would capture the attention of millions of visitors to Atlantic City each year.
This visionary focus is to reach-out to those people who are unlikely to read about the Holocaust or to go a Holocaust memorial. Instead, Rabbi Geller wants to invite the 10 million people from all backgrounds and nationalities who will walk past our site on the Atlantic City Boardwalk each year to come see a contemplative place where we’re reminded that genocide is with us even today.
To reflect the ACBHM’s desire for multi-cultural and interfaith support, Rabbi Geller first enlisted the help of Kaleem Shabazz, Communications Director of Masjid Mohammed’s Islamic Center of Atlantic City.
On January 28, 2007, Rabbi Geller along with Rabbi Shalom Plotkin, The Reverend Richard Wingate, Mr. Ed Colanzi, Samual Lashman, Esquire, Ms. Jane Stark, and Mr. Herman Zell formed the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial, Inc. a non-profit Section 501(c)(3) New Jersey corporation.
In the spring of 2008 the government of Atlantic City donated the boardwalk site, The Nadine Boggs Carpenter Pavilion on the Boardwalk between New York and Kentucky Avenues, for use by the ACBHM.
As noted by Dr. Paul B. Winkler, Executive Director of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education in June, 2008, “The completion of this monument will greatly assist the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education in meeting the educational and legislative mandate that all students must learn about the Holocaust and genocide. I can envision many school groups visiting the memorial. With the development of a teacher guide developed cooperatively with the Commission, the Holocaust Resource Center at The Richard Stockton College and local educators, the visit will be educational and emotional. The Holocaust Commission will provide technical support as necessary and educational input for the exhibit. The thousands of people each day that pass and view the monument will learn, care and hopefully do something about genocide and prejudice today.”
Between November 2010 and March 2011, an open design competition, with Dr. Jon Fox as Chairperson, received over 700 submissions from 55 countries for an independent jury’s selection. The winning design, “Fractured Landscape,” by Patrick Lausell and Paola Marquez was chosen.
The ACBHM is now concentrating on finalizing the architectural design so that building of the Memorial can begin in 2012. Our devout hope is to complete the Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial in 2013.