Visiting the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston with Cornishpastyman (Tony Mason) from St. Ives

Blogging is turning out to be like the perfect host at a cocktail party, the kind who takes you by the arm and introduces you to another guest with whom you have a lot in common. That's what happened when my blog introduced me to Tony Mason via a comment that he made about Private John Daum and the American Cemetery in Normandy. After exchanging a couple of emails, Tony and I discovered that we would be in Boston at the same time and arranged to meet for a cup of coffee. When we realized that we both wanted to visit Bunker Hill, which is at the very end of the Freedom Trail, we slung our cameras around our necks and headed out the door.

Even though it's not listed on the official tour guides for the Freedom Trail, our first stop was the New England Holocaust Memorial, located near Faneuil Hall.

Gazing up at the full height of the six glass towers that represent the six primary death camps (Majdanek, Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau) and the six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis, I ran my finger over one of the numbers etched in the glass and thought of all of the lives that were lost. Had the identification number been tattooed on the arm of a child, a mother, a son or a grandfather? I don't know, but it was the number of someone who was loved, whose life was intertwined with that of others and who was killed for their religious beliefs.

Superimposed on top of the seemingly endless rows of six million numbers are statements made by survivors and witnesses to the death camps.

Nothing belongs to us anymore. 
They have taken away our clothes, our shoes, and even our hair.
If we speak, they will not listen to us.
And if they listen, they will not understand.
They have taken away our names.

My number is 174517. 
I will carry the tattoo on my left arm until I die.

Primo Levi. Holocaust survivor.

Tony and I were intrigued by the warm steam rising from the vents at the entrance of each of the glass towers of the Holocaust Memorial and came up with various ideas as to its meaning. According to what I was able to find online, the architect who designed the memorial, Stanley Saitowitz, said that the steam is "like human breath as it passes through the glass chimneys to heaven." For me, it was more evocative of the horrors of the gas chambers.

Knowing that Tony does a lot of research for his YouTube videos, I'm anxious to see what he'll learn. As he's planning to complete some other travel videos before starting the Boston ones, take a look at the one that he did of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe (The Holocaust Memorial) in Berlin if you would like to see some of his work.

Used to visiting places on my own, it was fun to watch Tony in action. Here he is preparing to film the black granite monolith bearing the legendary inscription:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. 

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up. 

Attributed to Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp when he switched from delivering ante-Semitic sermons to opposing Hitler.


  1. what is a cornishpastyman? I have no idea.

    I have not yet met a fellow blogger, other than Miss Olive and Kittie France who I knew beforehand. I attempted to meet one this weekend who had come to Chicago for the marathon, but she ended up in the hospital due to an allergy to her host's cat! Yikes.

    I've not seen this memorial, it looks rather small, just a walkthrough really.

    I simply need to get back to Boston. And Mary Kay, go to Loche Ober before you leave. Have you ever been?

  2. Ahh, Joseph, you would LOVE Cornish pasties - which I don't pronounce correctly. It's a meat pie folded in a piece of dough and is absolutely delicious. Tony had some interesting stories to tell about them, including why they're shaped like a "D". With any luck, he'll do a Cornish pasty YouTube video, but in the meantime take a look at Wikipedia's definition.

    I did go to Loche Ober and even took some pictures for you. The only problem is that they aren't open for lunch, so I'll have to go back for dinner. If not this time, then definitely one of the next times that I'm in Boston. Perhaps you could join me!

    Sorry to hear about your blogger friend. I hope that she has recovered.

  3. Oh, have made me long for another visit home. The Holocaust memorial, although small packs a powerful punch to those who visit. I had the same thought about the rising steam. have a meal at the Union Oyster House's a bit of history and great fun.

  4. Nancy, As always, I'm having a wonderful time in your hometown, but you're probably better off in Florida today because it's grey, foggy and cold here!

    The Holocaust Memorial certainly does pack a powerful punch. The location next to the Freedom Trail is ideal because it makes one think about freedom and the value of human rights.

    Thanks for the tip about the Union Oyster House. Now I'm wondering how many more meals I can squeeze in before returning to Paris!

  5. If you do go to the Union Oyster House, be prepared to get yelled at and teased by the wait staff (esp if you dare to ask for butter or a drink refill etc)'s all part of the fun...
    And....very surprised at the spelling of Copp's Hill. Always thought it was double b's. See, just cuz I grew up there, doesn't mean I am a travel expert!! LOL have fun and be safe

  6. I almost went to the Union Oyster House yesterday but got sidetracked by a place on Charles St. Maybe it's a good thing because now I'll know that the teasing is part of the fun and won't be surprised by it. It sounds like the perfect place to take my children - without any warning - and to tell them to ask for a refill!

    The sun is shining and we're on our way to the Sam Adam's Brewery. It should be a good day. I'll see if they have anything that resembles Belgian beer for you. Have a great weekend in Florida!

  7. Have heard that the reaturant is no longer as "entertaining, but still worth a visit. It a long history and lots of info/photos on the walls.

  8. The Union Oyster House is another reason in a long list of many for me to return to Boston. We had a great time at Sam Adams watching the locals tease a boisterous group from New Jersey. And the people from Jersey gave as good as they got!

  9. Many countries were under in this war and could not accept others in. The United States limited the amount that were accepted, if they knew or not I am unsure (on the holocaust), but some had to have known. It was not as easy as it seems today with planes, big ships etc. It was a long hard trip to safety, with little chance of acceptance there. Germany moved in where people moved to in and over time. It was more of a where could they go ?


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