Memorial to the victims of the Holocaust Kol Yisrael went down in history

The Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial, which took years to build, will now be called the Kol Israel National Holocaust Memorial after President Joe Biden signed the omnibus bill into law on Dec. 23.

The memorial, located in Zion Memorial Park at 5451 Northfield Road in Bedford Heights, is considered the first Holocaust memorial in the United States to achieve national memorial status.

The National Memorial designation gives the Holocaust memorial greater protection, making it a federal offense to damage or destroy the site. It also boosts the memorial’s credibility, Andrew Mizsak, an early non-Jewish board member of the Kol Israel Foundation and a project consultant who also worked to get it to receive an Ohio State Historic marker in 2017, previously told Cleveland Jewish News.

The Congressional process to find national status began in 2020 and has gained momentum over the past seven months and 25 days. On Dec. 27, Mizsak told CJN that there are three paths to reach the goal: passage of a separate bill (the longest plan), a possible package from the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and a comprehensive bill.

In the early hours of December 21, he discovered that the bill was in the omnibus bill “at page 2964 and part (2965)” of a 4,126-page $1.7 trillion spending bill. He was glued to his TV watching the omnibus bill pass the US Senate 68-29 on Dec. 22 and the House of Representatives in a 226-201 vote on Dec. 23 before heading to the President’s table for signing. into law, he said.

In April, the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Warrensville Heights, and in the Senate, sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland. He passed in the ward on 19 September.

“We are so incredibly fortunate and blessed to have an army of believers in Washington DC and amazing coalition partners both here in Ohio and in DC to help spread the word about why this is so important.” ,” Mizzak said, adding. the national designation process can often take years. “The fact that we were able to do this from submission to signature by the president in seven months and 25 days is absolutely unheard of.”

He said signing the bill means the US government is giving a voice to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, as well as to the survivors and descendants who came to this country with little to no money and built the memorial in 1961.

Mizsak, chief consultant of Main Street Consultants, first contacted the Kol Israel Foundation to advocate for the memorial’s various designations after the foundation’s immediate former president Mark Frank met with Mayor Fletcher Berger of Bedford Heights in 2016 to discuss getting started. with local authorities on the way to national recognition.

“We are very happy to announce it as a national memorial, obviously for many reasons, especially in this day and age when everyone is talking about anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and the like,” Frank, the head of the memorial, told CJN on Dec. 27. “If you make it a National Memorial, it becomes an official site and an official event that actually took place, at least recognized by the United States government.”

Mizsack and Frank said the next steps include listing the memorial on the National Register of Historic Places and designating it as a National Historic Landmark. As a national memorial, the American flag must fly at all times, and a ceremonial flag-raising was scheduled at the memorial on December 29.

“As time goes by, people tend to forget history and this will be an eternal memorial to those people who died in the Holocaust,” said Robert Zelvin, President of the Kol Israel Foundation, CJN on Dec. 23 during the screening. vote of the House of Representatives. “… We remember the people who died, but we also remember the people who built this monument back in 1961, including my parents and a bunch of other people who prudently did it literally (10-12) years after they came to this country.

He said the bill received bipartisan support, both locally and nationally, from US Representative Dave Joyce of Russell Township and US Senator Rob Portman of Cincinnati, both Republicans in and out of state, among others.

“It’s the most important of all because that makes it the National Memorial,” Zelvin said of the National Memorial’s designation. “Many people like to go and see different places, national memorials. And it will be, perhaps, the very first in the entire country related to the Holocaust.”

The Holocaust Memorial is owned by the Kol Israel Foundation on land in Zion Memorial Park, which is owned by the Zion Memorial Park Association.

“I am pleased that my legislation to recognize the Kol Israel Holocaust Memorial as a national memorial has received bipartisan, bicameral support and has been put forward by both houses of Congress as part of a comprehensive package,” Shontel Brown said in a Dec. 23 press release. . “This is a significant day for the survivors who erected this memorial and their families who continue to renovate it. I am very pleased that this historical monument has received national recognition. His work in educating people about the Holocaust and remembering his 6 million Jewish victims with love deserves nothing less.”

Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman also expressed their support for the passage of the bill in a press release.

“I am proud that Kol Israel will now be recognized as a national memorial,” Sherrod Brown said in a press release. “The Kol Israel Memorial Foundation teaches Ohioers the lessons of the Holocaust and preserves the memory of its victims. As we pass this knowledge on to future generations, we renew our commitment to make sure this never happens again and to fight for a more just and peaceful world.”

Portman said in a press release: “We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and the great suffering that the Jewish people endured. The Kol Israel Holocaust Memorial was erected six decades ago in northeast Ohio to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and serve as a constant reminder of the evil that happened. I am pleased that our bipartisan bicameral law recognizing Kol Yisrael as a national memorial has now come into effect.”

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