On Campus

Unique Memorial Grove Honors Holocaust and Genocide Victims, Survivors, and their Families

memorial grove"Two converging lines cut into the ground, a scar, if you will, on the earth's surface culminating with a beam of light at the end. The lines will be composed of 40' lengths of railroad tracks embedded into the grass."
- Jann Nunn

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The Center for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide has unveiled plans for a Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove on the east side of the campus near the Alumni Grove by the lakes area.

“The Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove is an important addition to SSU’s landscape,“ says Dean of Social Sciences Elaine Leeder whose grandmother, aunt, uncle and dozens of cousins were lost in the Holocaust. “It makes tangible all the work that the Center for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide has done at SSU for 25 years and honors those who were lost in atrocities committed throughout the world,” she says.

Jann Nunn, Associate Professor of Sculpture, has designed an original sculpture for the Memorial Grove that will transform the area and provide a compelling context in which others can participate. The sculpture includes an internally illuminated glass column. At its base will be inscribed a quote from Elie Wiesel which will read: “It is because I remember our common beginnings that I move closer to my fellow human beings.”

Nunn says “a great deal of my work is born of a necessity to address a social and/or political issue. Frequently, my work illuminates concerns of underrepresented or marginalized groups or individuals.”

The sculpture’s design consists of two 40-foot-long railroad tracks embedded into the lawn. The converging steel lines emerge from a gentle slope of ground and intersect a pedestrian footpath. The steel lines come within six inches of each other, ending with light from the ten foot tall illuminated column. Nunn says “the narrowing distance between the tracks represents hope of diminishing incidents of genocide and holocaust as civilization progresses and we learn from past errors.”

Jann NunnJann Nunn

Rows of ivory colored memorial bricks will be placed in the position of railroad ties relative to the steel tracks. Each brick will be laser inscribed with names and memorial expressions that serve to “remind us of past atrocities and provide hope for the future,” says Nunn.

For Leeder, the bricks in the project allow her to have a memorial to her lost relatives on U.S. soil for the first time. “I am moved and chastened that a dream I had just a year ago is coming to fruition.”

The Center invites the community to be a part of this moving and lasting memorial. Individuals, groups and businesses may purchase one or more memorial bricks for placement in the sculpture. Two sizes are offered; 4x8-inch for $100; and 8x8-inch for $250. For more information on how purchase one or more bricks, please contact Kate McClintock, (707) 664-2693 or e-mail kate.mcclintock@sonoma.edu.