BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — A flag-raising ceremony Thursday morning at the Kol Israel Holocaust Memorial established the Zion Memorial Park monument as the first national Holocaust memorial in the country.
The federal omnibus spending bill signed into law on Friday, Dec. 23, included an amendment to rename the local memorial as the Kol Israel Holocaust National Memorial, making it the first Holocaust memorial in the country to be given national status, according to a news release. That national designation will also make desecration of the site a felony.
“In this era of increasing antisemitism and Holocaust denial, it stands as a Memorial to that atrocity,” reads the release.
The memorial was created in 1961 by Holocaust survivors from Cleveland “who had virtually no money,” reads the release. It contains ashes and remains from European concentration camps during the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jewish people died at the hands of Germany’s Nazi regime.
In 1959, those Cleveland survivors formed the Kol Israel Foundation “to provide family for each other since most of theirs perished,” reads the release.