In 1958, a small group of Holocaust survivors, most of whom had immigrated to Kansas City shortly after World War II, met with Sol E. Margolin, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center, to consider ways to commemorate the Holocaust. This meeting led to the formation of what they would call “The New Americans Club of the Jewish Community Center of Kansas City.”
The following year, in 1959, two especially significant projects emerged from that meeting: the annual Yom HaShoah service, which the New Americans called the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Service and the Warsaw Ghetto Monument (the sculpture that stood at the entrance to the old Jewish Community Center on Holmes Road and that now stands on the northeast corner of this Jewish Community Campus in Overland Park, KS). The New Americans named this the Memorial to the Six Million.
Both projects were among the first of their kind in the United States. Both were organized, funded, and sponsored entirely by members of the New Americans Club and would be among their most enduring legacies to our community.
The memorial, created by Maurice Newman, was dedicated on June 9, 1963 at a ceremony featuring a keynote address by former President Harry S Truman.
“The tremendous effort and perseverance you have displayed to realize The Memorial to Six Million Martyrs finds full justification in the result – a stirring warning that we are never done with war against prejudice and persecution. Let us resolve to work together toward making this ‘humanity’s century,’ a century of lasting peace and universal justice.” ~Harry S Truman